OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — As the runoff elections get closer, every vote counts.
Deborah Batiste was arrested Wednesday night on three counts of bribery of votes by the Opelousas police department.
Batiste is seen in a video recorded by an eyewitness attempting to pay two women ten dollars a piece for their votes.
Opelousas Police Chief Martin McLendon said his department started an investigation on Batiste when they were made aware of the video.
“We received a complaint of a possible vote buying on trying to bribe people to go and vote by paying them or giving them something in exchange for their vote, and so it was turned over to our investigative team,” McLendon said.
During the investigation, McLendon said Batiste admitted to buying votes while not knowing it was illegal.
He said he wants it known the candidates in the runoff had nothing to do with bribing of votes. Batiste is said to have acted independently for the candidate she supports.
“I want to make it clear that the candidate themselves had nothing to do with this particular case,” McLendon said. “I believe, strongly believe Ms. Batiste acted independently on her own.”
With the runoff election just over a week away, McLendon wants to warn campaign workers it is illegal to bribe a person for votes. He said if his department receives a complaint, an investigation will happen if the information given is relevant.
“If that complaint is given to us, we are obligated by law to investigate it if we find information that is relevant to that particular complaint,” McLendon said.