Voter Fraud in Georgia
The right to vote is an American principle that comes with many laws intended to keep the voting process secure. Voting is not mandatory, but it is important that the voting process is protected at every stage. Voter fraud can manifest itself in numerous ways, but each offense comes with severe penalties. Manipulating election results, unlawful voting, repeat voting, and poll officer fraud all consist of voter fraud crimes. Most of the offenses under voter fraud will be charged as felony offenses, which will have a lasting impact on your life. If you have been accused of voter fraud or another crime in Georgia, contact our Voter Fraud Lawyers in Georgia now for a free case evaluation.
Unlawful Voting in Georgia
Under O.C.G.A. § 21-2-571, a person can be convicted of unlawful voting in a primary or election in several different ways:
- By voting or attempting to vote knowing they do not possess all the qualifications
- By knowingly giving false information to poll officers in an attempt to vote
A person convicted of unlawful voting will be guilty of a felony punishable by a prison term between one and years, a fine up to $10,000, or both.
Repeat Voting in Georgia
Under O.C.G.A. § 21-2-572, a person who votes in more than one precinct in the same primary or election or votes more than once will be guilty of repeat voting. Anyone convicted of repeat voting in Georgia will be guilty of a felony and will be punished by a prison term between one and ten years, a fine up to $100,000, or both.
Unlawful Absentee Voting
Under O.C.G.A. § 21-2-573, a person who votes or attempts to vote by absentee ballot for a primary or election knowing that they are not qualified to vote will be guilty of unlawful absentee voting in Georgia. The penalty for unlawful absentee voting in Georgia is a fine up to $100,000, a prison term between one and ten years, or both. Additionally, it will be a felony conviction.
Poll Officer Fraud
Under O.C.G.A. §21-2-587, a poll officer commits fraud when they willfully:
- Make a false return of the votes cast at any primary or election;
- Deposit fraudulent ballots in the ballot box or certify as correct a false return of ballots;
- Register fraudulent votes upon any voting machine or certify as correct a return of fraudulent votes cast upon any voting machine;
- Make any false entries in the electors list;
- Destroy or alter any ballot, voter's certificate, or electors list;
- Tamper with any voting machine, direct recording electronic (DRE) equipment, electronic ballot marker, or tabulating machine or device;
- Prepare or file any false voter's certificate not prepared by or for an elector actually voting at such primary or election; or
- Fail to return to the officials prescribed by this chapter, following any primary or election, any keys of a voting machine; ballot box; general or duplicate return sheet; tally paper; oaths of poll officers; affidavits of electors and others; record of assisted voters; numbered list of voters; electors list; voter's certificate; spoiled and canceled ballots; ballots deposited, written, or affixed in or upon a voting machine; DRE, electronic ballot marker, or tabulating machine memory cards; or any certificate or any other paper or record required to be returned under this chapter
A person convicted of fraud as a poll officer will be charged with a felony punishable by one to ten years in prison, and a fine up to $100,00, or both.
Interfering with Primaries and Elections in Georgia
There are a number of ways a person can be charged with interfering with primaries and elections in Georgia. Under O.C.G.A. § 21-2-566, a person can be convicted of interfering with primaries and elections if they:
(1) Willfully prevent or attempt to prevent any poll officer from holding any primary or election under this chapter;
(2) Use or threaten violence in a manner that would prevent a reasonable poll officer or actually prevents a poll officer from the execution of his or her duties or materially interrupts or improperly and materially interferes with the execution of a poll officer's duties;
(3) Willfully block or attempt to block the avenue to the door of any polling place;
(4) Use or threaten violence in a manner that would prevent a reasonable elector from voting or actually prevents any elector from voting;
(5) Willfully prepare or present to any poll officer a fraudulent voter's certificate not signed by the elector whose certificate it purports to be;
(6) Knowingly deposit fraudulent ballots in the ballot box;
(7) Knowingly register fraudulent votes upon any voting machine; or
(8) Willfully tamper with any electors list, voter's certificate, numbered list of voters, ballot box, voting machine, direct recording electronic (DRE) equipment, electronic ballot marker, or tabulating machine.
If convicted of interfering with a primary or election in Georgia, the accused will be guilty of a felony. The penalty will be a prison term between one and years, a fine up to $100,000, or both.
Unlawful Possession of Ballots
In addition to trying to vote illegally, a person can be convicted of illegal possession of ballots if they have in their possession a ballot outside of the polling place. A person convicted of unlawful possession of ballots will be guilty of a felony under O.C.G.A. § 21-2-574.
Misdemeanor Voting Offenses in Georgia
Most of the voter fraud offenses in Georgia are felony charges, but there are a couple that are misdemeanor crimes. In Georgia, misdemeanor offenses are punished by a fine up to $1,000, jail time up to one year, or both.
Some offenses that are considered misdemeanors under Georgia law include:
- Removing any ballot form the book of official ballots O.C.G.A. § 21-2-577
- Willfully destroying or defacing any ballot O.C.G.A. § 21-2-576
- Willfully delaying the delivery of any ballot O.C.G.A. § 21-2-576
- Willfully unfolding, opening, or prying into any ballot with the intent to discover how it was marked before it is deposited in the ballot box O.C.G.A. § 21-2-578
- Allowing a ballot to be seen by another person with the intent of letting it be known for a fraudulent purpose how they will vote O.C.G.A. § 21-2-579(1)
- Casting or attempting to cast anything other than the official ballot or advising someone else to do so O.C.G.A. § 21-2-579(2)
- Without having made the affirmation under oath or declaration required by O.C.G.A. § 21-2-409, or when the disability which he or she declared at the time of registration no longer exists, permits another to accompany him or her into the voting compartment or voting machine booth or to mark his or her ballot or to register his or her vote on the voting machine or direct recording electronic (DRE) equipment or use an electronic ballot marker O.C.G.A. § 21-2-579(3)
- Stating falsely to any poll officer that because of his or her inability to read the English language or because of blindness, near-blindness, or other physical disability he or she cannot mark the ballot or operate the voting machine without assistance O.C.G.A. § 21-2-579(4)
No matter if you have been charged with a felony offense or a misdemeanor crime, our Voter Fraud Lawyers in Georgia are here to help.
Counterfeit Ballots in Georgia
Under O.C.G.A. § 21-2-575, it is unlawful for a person to make, construct, or have in their possession a counterfeit ballot or ballot label. A person convicted of counterfeit ballots in Georgia will be guilty of a felony.
Tampering with Voting Machines
Under O.C.G.A. § 21-2-580, any person who:
(1) Unlawfully opens, tampers with, or damages any voting machine or electronic ballot marker or tabulating machine to be used or being used at any primary or election;
(2) Willfully prepares a voting machine or an electronic ballot marker or tabulating machine for use in a primary or election in improper order for voting; or
(3) Prevents or attempts to prevent the correct operation of such electronic ballot marker or tabulating machine or voting machine
shall be guilty of a felony.
If You Have Been Charged With Voter Fraud In Georgia, We Can Help!
If you have been charged by local or federal authorities with voter fraud, it is critical that you hire a Georgia Criminal Lawyer to try to prevent a conviction and avoid the intense penalties. There are numerous ways for us to mitigate the consequences. At Lawson and Berry, our Georgia Voter Fraud Attorneys have dedicated their lives to defense work! With decades of experience and over 5,000 cases resolved, we know what it takes to reach a successful outcome in your case. Call us now for a free case evaluation.