Former Valdosta City Councilman Bunnis Williams deserves to have the book thrown at him for admitting guilt to voter fraud charges during his re-election bid in 2001.

Williams pleaded guilty to three counts in a seven-count indictment -- illegal handling of an absentee ballot, a misdemeanor, and illegal possession of an absentee ballot, both felonies.

Williams, who lost his bid for a fifth term to Willie Head, could face more than $100,000 in fines and up to 13 years prison time when he is sentenced March 19 by Superior Court Judge Harry Jay Altman.

As a veteran elected official and someone who got in trouble with the state for illegal possession of absentee ballots in 1999, Williams should have known better. There is no excuse for his mishandling of these ballots two years later.

It's hard enough to get people to believe in the credibility of the electoral process without having local officials do something illegal in terms of elections.

Fewer and fewer people vote each year because they don't believe their vote counts. When tallies are mishandled, they have even more reason to question the outcome and stay home on election day.



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