Tosa woman sentenced to prison for illegal vote

Published on: 10/19/2010

A Wauwatosa woman who voted illegally in the 2008 presidential primary was sentenced Tuesday to a year in prison after a stern lecture from the judge about the impact of voter fraud, even if doesn't turn an election.

"It destroys the integrity of our community, our nation and our president," Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Conen told Bridgett West. "You helped the detractors of our president go on their rampage that he's not our duly-elected president."

West, 37, was on probation for a felony theft when she cast her ballot at Wauwatosa East High School on Feb. 19, 2008. Conen sentenced her to a year in prison, followed by a year of supervised release for that offense, as well as 15 months in prison for an unrelated count of identity theft. Both sentences will be served concurrently.

West had pleaded guilty to both charges in exchange for prosecutors dismissing counts of lying to an election official and a second count of identity theft. According to court records, she had used the name and Social Security number of a North Carolina woman to get service from We Energies at two different addresses from 2005 to 2008.

The voting fraud was discovered as part of the identity theft investigation, and not by the Election Fraud Task Force, a collaborative effort between the Department of Justice, the Milwaukee County district attorney's office and the Milwaukee Police Department.

As of earlier this month, the task force had charged 18 people with election-related crimes, including six for voting before completing their entire felony sentences.