According to the secretary of state’s web site, Darryl Hicks of Fayetteville beat former House speaker Terry Coleman of Eastman by 572 votes in the Democratic primary for labor commissioner.
But nearly a week later, Coleman has yet to concede – and won’t until a situation in Brooks County is sorted out by the GBI and Brian Kemp’s office.
“Apparently they’ve never had but a couple hundred absentees. This time they had something like 1,400 requested, and voted about 1,100 of them” Coleman said. “Of course, I lost the absentees by two-and-a-half to one or more. So it looked kind of suspicious.”
In next door Lowndes County, which hosts the big city of Valdosta, 439 ballots were reportedly mailed out – and 169 returned.
Coleman’s allies are now looking to see if any other counties have shown jumps in absentee ballots.
“There may be a little fraud involved. Who knows?” the former speaker said.
Matt Carrothers, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, confirmed this afternoon that an investigation is underway. But he could offer no details.
Here’s a Friday account by WALB-TV in Albany:
The GBI won’t give details, but agents confirm they are investigating possible voter fraud.
In the probate court Friday, workers sorted through large stacks of ballots, but the judge wouldn’t comment.
Three incumbents who were leading after votes cast in person were counted, but they lost after a suspiciously high number of absentee ballots were counted.
One incumbent was ahead by hundreds of votes until the absentees came in.
“It’s a shame it went the way it did,” said William Jordan, a Brooks County voter. “There was evidently a massive effort to register the absentee voters.”
We’re told investigators from the Secretary of State’s office were in Quitman Friday, but the office would not confirm that.