An Alabama lawmaker, Republican State Rep. David Cole, has been arrested on felony voter fraud charges.
Cole of Madison, Alabama, was arrested on charges of fraudulently voting at multiple or unauthorized locations. The Alabama attorney general's office confirmed the arrest and is prosecuting the case. The legislator, 52, was booked into the Madison County jail and posted a $2,500 bond the same afternoon. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine, as reported by Fox News.
Cole, an Army veteran and physician who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, was elected to the Alabama legislature last November.
He represents District 10, which includes nearly 50,000 residents.
Cole also serves as the medical director of Occupational Health Group in Huntsville. The arrest follows accusations that he did not live in the district in which he was elected.
Elijah Boyd, the Libertarian candidate in the district, had previously filed an election challenge in civil court, arguing that Cole did not live in District 10 and was not eligible to represent the district.
House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter issued a statement saying he had learned of Cole's arrest and is waiting to learn more details. Ledbetter said:
We believe that any allegation of fraud must be addressed regardless of the party, public official, or candidate involved.
In July, AL.com reported that Cole lives in District 4, even though he represents the 10th district.
Cole defeated opponents Democrat Marilyn Lands and Libertarian Elijah Boyd in the election.
Boyd later challenged Cole’s victory in the local circuit court. The case eventually made its way to the Alabama Supreme Court.
In May, the high court ruled it was up to legislators to determine whether Cole was qualified to hold the office.
The legislature completed its regular session and a subsequent special session without taking action on Cole’s qualification for office.
As this is an ongoing investigation, we are still waiting to learn more details as they become available," Ledbetter said in a statement. Alabamians may remain confident that their elections are conducted honestly, their votes are cast and counted fairly, and their ballot boxes are secure.
The arrest of Cole raises concerns about the integrity of the electoral process. It highlights the need for stringent measures to ensure that only eligible candidates participate in elections.
The case also underscores the importance of addressing allegations of fraud promptly and thoroughly, regardless of the party or individual involved.
The Alabama attorney general's office is prosecuting the case, and it remains to be seen what the outcome will be.
If convicted, Cole faces significant penalties, including a lengthy prison term and a substantial fine.
This case serves as a reminder of the serious consequences of voter fraud and the importance of maintaining the integrity of the electoral process.