Richard Toney, the former police chief of a small township in western Pennsylvania, Harmar Township, has pled guilty to violating federal election laws and soliciting absentee ballots in an effort to benefit his wife and her running mate.
While Toney has officially retired from his police chief position since this event, he was still officer-in-charge of police in 2009, when he committed the violations. Federal prosecutors assert that in 2009, Toney sought absentee ballots for his wife Kim and her running mate in the Democratic primary for Harmar Township supervisor.
Richard Toney allegedly applied for absentee ballots and then had them filled out by people who should not have filled them out, because they were not going to be absent for the primary.
The soliciting of the ballots had a profound impact on the primary – prior to absentee ballots being counted, no one had a clear majority. Kim Toney and one opponent won the top two slots, but after 50 absentee ballots were counted, Kim and her running mate prevailed and won the general election, including two seats on the five-member board that runs Harmar Township.
Neither Kim Toney nor her running mate, Jerry Chalmers, have been accused of any wrongdoing.
Toney entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors that landed him three years of probation.