Law enforcement officials have charged 12 people with using absentee ballots to skew an election in Georgia.
“As a result of their grand jury findings, 12 individuals were indicted in that particular matter and we will be trying that case in a court of judicial law instead of a court of public opinion,” District Attorney Joe Mulholland told the local TV station, WALB.
The charges followed a bitter November 2010 school board election in Brooks County in which the final tally was changed by an unusually large wave of absentee ballots.
During the election, 1,060 absentee votes were cast out of the 1,403 ballots mailed out to people who requested them, according to a July 2010 report by WCTV.
That’s far higher than nearby Thomas County, which had 119 absentee votes cast out of 202 requests, and Lowndes County, which had 169 absentee votes cast out of 439 requests, said WCTV’s report.
The 12 people charged are aligned with the Democratic Party.
News of the arrests followed The Daily Caller’s interview with former Alabama Democratic Rep. Artur Davis, in which he said voter identification laws are needed to counter ballot fraud in local elections.
“What I have seen in my state, in my region, is the the most aggressive practitioners of voter fraud are local machines who are tied lock, stock and barrel to the special interests in their communities — the landfills, the casino operators —and they’re cooking the [ballot] boxes on election day, they’re manufacturing absentee ballots, they’re voting [in the names of] people named Donald Duck because they want to control politics and thwart progress,” he told TheDC.
Davis’s statement — and the new indictments — counter a high volume campaign by Democratic leaders and allied advocacy groups to defeat a Republican-backed wave of state level reform bills and laws that require voters to identify themselves.
Democrats argue that the voter identification laws are intended to suppress votes by blacks and Hispanics.
Since President Barack Obama’s election, officials at the Department of Justice have downplayed complaints about ballot fraud.
Under former President George W. Bush, the department had aggressively pursued numerous cases. In 2007, for example, Ike Brown, the chairman of the Democratic Party in Noxubee County, Miss., was investigated for interfering with white voters’ access to the ballot box.
State investigations and convictions continue despite the DOJ’s current lack of interest.
In April, Lessadolla Sowers was convicted by a court in Tunica County, Miss., on 10 counts of fraudulently casting absentee ballots. Sowers was a member of the local National Associated for the Advancement of Colored People’s executive committee.