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State agency seeks hearing in voter fraud case against Georgia House District 7 candidate Brian K. Pritchard
Pritchard file image
File photo.

The State Election Board’s voter fraud case against a would-be Georgia District 7 House candidate could soon move forward just as he seeks to qualify for office.

This story continues below.

Brian Keith Pritchard of Cherry Log, a conservative talk show host and the owner of media company FetchYourNews, is one of two candidates who have announced their intent to run in a Jan. 3, 2023, special election to fill the late representative David Ralston’s seat. 

The other candidate is Ralston’s widow, Sheree Ralston, who resides in Fannin County. She announced her intent to run via a Nov. 28 press release.

The state house district covers part of Dawson and all of Fannin and Gilmer counties. Both Pritchard and Ralston qualified for the District 7 seat on Dec. 5. 

“I will not be intimidated. I will not be bullied,” said Pritchard in a Dec. 2 phone call to DCN. “No one’s going to keep me out of this race.”

“I want to represent the district,” Pritchard said during a Dec. 5 press conference. “I want to support my law enforcement and get Atlanta crime out of the North Georgia mountains.”

He said that he’s been issued a document restoring all of his civil and political rights and explained that the late Rep. Ralston helped him obtain it. 

“I am on the ballot,” Pritchard said. “I am qualified to be on the ballot.”

The election board’s accusations of voter fraud against Pritchard stem from alleged instances first reported six years ago, according to transcripts from the State Election Board’s meeting on Feb. 10, 2021.

In May 2016, the state elections board received reports that Pritchard registered and voted in Gilmer County “for several years while serving a felony probation sentence,” the transcripts stated. 

Pritchard had been recorded as a Gilmer County resident since Jan. 29, 2008, when he registered to vote. In May 1996 he pleaded guilty in Pennsylvania to two counts of forgery after writing and one count of theft by failing to make required disposition funds, all felonies.

For his sentence, Pritchard was ordered to pay $33,629 in restitution fees and court costs and served probation that was extended on April 4, 2004, until Sept. 27, 2011. 

“Pritchard violated O.C.G.A. § 21-2-216(b) when he registered to vote on or about January 29, 2008, while still under sentence for a felony conviction in Pennsylvania which disqualified him from registering to vote as all felonies are considered crimes of moral turpitude under Georgia law,” stated a Georgia Office of the Attorney General Dec. 1 filing with the Office of State Administrative Hearings. 

Pritchard allegedly voted in nine elections–four in 2008 and five in 2010–while he was under felony probation. 

Pritchard is accused of voting fraudulently in the following elections, according to the Office of the Attorney General’s filing:

  • July 15, 2008 General Primary Election

  • Aug. 5, 2008 General Primary Election Run-off

  • Nov. 4, 2008 General Election

  • Dec. 2, 2008 General Election Run-off

  • May 11, 2010 Special Election

  • June 8, 2010 Special Election

  • July 20, 2010 General Primary Election

  • Aug. 10, 2010 General Primary Election Run-off

  • Nov. 2, 2010 General Election

Pritchard believed his plea was no contest and wasn’t aware of his felony probation sentence when voting, according to comments a state elections investigator shared from Pritchard’s attorney during the election board’s February 2021 meeting. 

Due to the retention schedule when the election complaint was received, documents from 2008 and 2010 were no longer available, the investigator told the board. 

The investigator said he did not know why the issue wasn’t caught at the county level. 

“The only thing I can think of is because it was an out-of-state conviction and that it may not have been on their list of felons,” the investigator said.  

Pritchard’s attorney later added that his client received a pardon for his Pennsylvania offenses on Nov. 8, 2017. The attorney suggested that the statute of limitations ran out years ago on the allegations and that as a former prosecutor, he didn’t believe there was evidence at that point “that Mr. Pritchard violated any statute.”

At the end of that hearing, the board voted to bind the case over to the Attorney General’s Office and Gilmer County’s District Attorney’s Office. Gilmer County is a part of the Appalachian Judicial Circuit, which also includes Fannin and Pickens counties.

DCN is awaiting clarification from the Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee about whether or not her office has an active case against Pritchard. 

“We are requesting that a hearing be scheduled by the Office of State Administrative Hearings, and we look forward to presenting the case against Brian Pritchard,” attorney general’s office communications director Kara Richardson wrote in a Dec. 1 email.

In the scheduling document filed Dec. 1, the State Elections Board requested that a case hearing be scheduled in Fannin County the week of Jan. 9 “due to the potential unavailability of counsel and witnesses of which the State Election Board’s counsel is currently aware.”

DCN will update this story when more information becomes available.

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