Monroe County District Attorney Richard Milam said the Georgia Attorney Generals office, along with the state Board of Elections, are still investigating alleged voter fraud that took place during the 2011 Forsyth mayors race.
The investigation began in December 2011 after an unusual amount of absentee ballots were cast in the race between then-incumbent Mayor Tye Howard and eventual winner John Howard II. John Howard won by 151 votes to become the citys first black mayor.
Milam said Friday the elections outcome isnt in doubt -- roughly 120 ballots initially were investigated, not enough to make a difference in the final outcome -- and Tye Howard decided at the time not to pursue a lawsuit in the matter.
However, investigators from the Secretary of States Office began an investigation, interviewing more than 100 people involved with the suspect ballots, Milam said.
The vast majority of those people, Milam said, were people attempting to help family members or friends fill out or send in ballots that those voters couldnt do themselves. For example, Milam said, a ballot might have been filled out by a person helping an elderly or infirm relative who couldnt fill it out personally. Milam said a person assisting someone with a ballot is supposed to fill out a form that details how that assistance was rendered.
In many of the cases, that section of the form wasnt completed.
There was a number of people who violated the law. You cant touch someone elses ballot, he said. But theres a place where you fill it out if you help someone, and a number of them werent filled out. The vast majority of people were helping out older voters. It was someone trying to help out rather than trying to do something illegal.
However, the investigation did uncover a few cases of actual fraud, Milam said. In those cases, those people requested absentee ballots for a relative, and then filled the ballot out themselves and signed it without the relatives knowledge.
Theres at least one or two where there are allegations of fraud, said Milam, who added he is unaware if any charges have been filed by the attorney generals office. Its still in the investigative stage. It takes a lot of time.
Milam said his office will prosecute anyone the state charges with voter fraud, which is a felony. He said punishment in such a case would depend on a few factors, but would typically involve a fine.
Officials with the state Election Board office declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.