Voter fraud charges against Canton Alderman Vickie McNeil were dropped after she agreed to step down as a city official.

McNeil, who previously served as the Canton police chief, was indicted in December 2018 on four counts of voter fraud.

McNeil’s case had previously been continued with her defense lawyers citing health concerns.

“She had pretty substantial health problems,” prosecutor Ashley Allen said. “We decided this deal was the best option we had in the interest of judicial economy. If we had to continue and extend court dates until she was ready to stand trial, it could have taken a long time. With her stepping down, we felt like we accomplished our goal.”

Allen added that by making that deal now, it will allow the city to fill her position during November’s general election instead of holding a special election, which would have cost more money.

McNeil is the third defendant out of the 12 people originally indicted in a voter fraud scheme related to the 2017 Canton municipal elections. She is the second Canton alderman to lose her position following the investigation.

The other, Ward 7 Alderman Andrew Grant, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit voter fraud and received a suspended prison sentence of five years.

Under Section 44 of the Mississippi Constitution, anyone convicted of a felony or “infamous crime” cannot hold public office.

Former Canton City Clerk Valerie Smith pleaded guilty in June to one count of violation of voter registration. 

She was originally indicted on 12 counts of violating voter registration statutes for allegedly falsifying voter registration applications.

Two individuals indicted on voter fraud charges had their cases dismissed by the DA’s office. 

Desmand King, deputy city clerk for the city of Canton, was indicted in December 2018 on two counts of voter fraud. His case was dismissed. 

Sherman Matlock was indicted on charges of voting as an unqualified person because of a previous manslaughter conviction, which is not a disqualifying offense.

Former Canton Fire Chief Cary Johnson and Jennifer Robinson, both indicted on voter fraud counts, were entered into the DA’s pre-trial diversion program in lieu of trial.  

The only defendant stemming from the investigation with charges still pending is Director of Human and Cultural Needs for the city and former member of the Canton School Board Courtney Rainey. She was found guilty in a jury trial of witness tampering and not guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit voter fraud.

Allen reiterated Wednesday that the District Attorney’s Office intends to retry Rainey on that first count. They are still deciding what to do with the other charges pending against her.  She already faces up to two years in a state penitentiary for the conviction for voter intimidation.