Twiggs Election Case Referred to Attorney General

4:15 PM, Nov 17, 2010   |    comments
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The state Board of Elections on Wednesday asked the state attorney general to decide whether to prosecute a former Twiggs County sheriff and his son for alleged election violations.

The board voted to refer the case of Doyle Stone and his son, Greg Stone, to the attorney general's office for possible prosecution.

Their lawyer, Jess Johnson of Atlanta, said both Stones deny breaking any laws or interfering with anyone's right to vote.

Sheriff Darren Mitchum, who was running for a second term in July 2008, reported alleged voter fraud to the Georgia Secretary of State's election office that month.

Doyle Stone was sheriff for 16 years and hired his son Greg as a deputy.

In 2004, Doyle Stone retired and Greg Stone ran to replace him.

Mitchum beat him that year and again in 2008, when Greg Stone ran for a second time.

A complaint filed by Twiggs County voters said Greg and Doyle Stone filled out absentee ballots for voters and then took the ballots away.

In September, investigator Chris Harvey told the board that Doyle Stone illegally possessed absentee ballots.

At least five people said "they gave him their absentee ballots and he assisted them and and he left with their absentee ballots."

Harvey says the ballots were tested at the FBI lab in Quantico and at least one had Doyle Stone's fingerprints.

Doyle Stone was also accused of illegal influencing voters. Harvey said Stone went to two women's homes and tried to help them fill out their ballots, even though they hadn't asked for help.

Harvey said he told them, "You want to vote for Greg, don't you?" The women said they felt coerced, Harvey told the board.

Three people in a nursing home told investigators that Doyle Stone came to the home and took their ballots.

The investigator told the state board that Doyle Stone violated election laws by filling out ballots for people who didn't want or need help: "They were not blind. They were not disabled. They were not illiterate."

Greg Stone is accused of illegal possession of absentee ballots, because the FBI found his fingerprints on four ballots.

Harvey told the state board in September that his office investigated allegations of vote buying on both sides of the election: "Frankly, there was a lot of smoke. There were a lot of allegations on going across on both sides. And none of that was able to be substantiated."

Johnson would not comment on the fingerprints, but called Doyle Stone a 30-year public servant with an untarnished record.

State elections board spokesman Matt Carrothers had no comment on the case.

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