Feds charge two Tennessee residents with buying votes in U.S. Senate primary

FILE - This Oct. 24, 2008 file photo shows covered voting machines in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania is one of the states that rely on antiquated voting machines that store votes electronically, without printed ballots or other paper-based backups that could be used to double-check the balloting. There’s almost no way to know if they’ve accurately recorded individual votes, or if anyone tampered with the count. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

KNOXVILLE - Two people, including a 60-year-old woman charged with selling marijuana, have been accused of buying votes in the 2014 U.S. Senate primary election, federal authorities say.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that Betty Jane Best and Brian Keith Hodge were named in a 14-count federal indictment alleging a vote-buying conspiracy in Monroe County.

The indictment alleges that 13 people were paid to vote in the 2014 Senate primary. It doesn't say who they were supposed to have voted for or how much they allegedly received for casting a ballot.

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander and attorney Gordon Ball won those primary races. There's no indication either was aware of the alleged scheme.

Best, also known as Betty Hawkins, has been indicted in Monroe County on charges of selling marijuana. It's not clear what her relationship is to Hodge, who goes by the name "Wormy."

Phone messages left with their attorneys were not immediately returned.