State accuses Telfair County voters of committing felonies

MCRAE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A few Telfair County voters are accused of committing a felony in a 2012 election.

“I’ve been wronged because the only thing I was trying to do was make sure everybody got a right to vote,” said Alice Strong.

Strong is one of the seven people who could be charged with a felony for illegally helping someone vote in a 2012 Telfair County election.

“They accused me of taking her ballot,” Strong said.

Strong takes care of Delois Wright, an elderly McRae woman who suffers from Alzheimer’s. She is paralyzed and in a wheelchair. Even though her memory comes and goes, her son says there is something she always remembers.

“She’s a very avid voter. She’s not going to let anyone have hold of her ballot,” said Willie Wright, the son of Delois Wright.

The State Board of Elections claims Strong helped Wright fill out her absentee ballot even though she didn’t need assistance. Wright’s son thinks the accusations against Strong stem from investigators asking his mother misleading questions.

“If you ask her if someone helped her with any part of it [her ballot], without specifically itemizing what you’re talking about, she’s going to say yes,” said Wright.

Because Strong did help Wright.

“She did her own vote on the ballot and I put it in the envelope,” Strong said.

“Unless you make the elector’s ballot, that’s not considered assisting,” Telfair County Sheriff Chris Steverson said.

Steverson tells 41NBC most of the accused voters have similar stories. At a hearing on March 12th, Steverson told the state board these accusations are not actual violations.

“The Attorney General’s representative at the hearing spoke up and reiterated that did not constitute a crime and the chief of investigations demonstrated that he did not know that,” recalled Steverson.

But what bothers Steverson the most is that some of his elderly citizens don’t want to exercise their right anymore.

“He said he’ll never vote again. Before, he proudly stated he’s voted in every election since he was 18,” said Steverson.

The Secretary of State’s Office spokesperson Jared Thomas tells 41NBC at the public hearing on March 12th, the board unanimously voted to send the case to the Attorney General’s Office for prosecution. He adds this matter has been, and will continue to be, handled in a very professional manner until its resolution.

Categories: Local News, Telfair County

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