January 31, 2023

Brian Keith Pritchard, a Cherry Log resident and owner of media outlet FetchYourNews, is one of two candidates who have announced their intention to run in a special election on January 3, 2023 to fill the seat of the late MP David Ralston.

The State House District includes part of Dawson and all of Fannin and Gilmer counties. Pritchard said he plans to qualify on Monday, December 5th.

“I’m not intimidated. I don’t get bullied,” Pritchard said in a December 2 call with DCN. “I’ll be in Atlanta on Monday to qualify for Georgia House District 7 and I’ll be holding a press conference afterwards. I will qualify at 9am on Monday morning and no one will keep me out of this race.”

The Electoral Board’s allegations of voter fraud against Pritchard stem from alleged incidents first reported six years ago, according to minutes of the Feb. 10, 2021, state Electoral Board meeting.

In May 2016, the State Board of Elections received reports that Pritchard “had registered and voted in Gilmer County for several years while serving a suspended sentence for a felony,” the transcripts said.

Pritchard had been a registered resident of Gilmer County since January 29, 2008, when he registered to vote. In May 1996, in Pennsylvania, he pled guilty to two counts of post-letter forgery and one count of theft for failing to obtain the necessary transaction funds, all crimes.

For his sentence, Pritchard was ordered to pay restitution fees and court costs totaling $33,629 and received a suspended sentence, which was extended on April 4, 2004 to September 27, 2011.

“Pritchard violated OCGA § 21-2-216(b) when he registered to vote on or about January 29, 2008 while still serving a felony conviction in Pennsylvania that exempted him from registration barred from voting because all crimes are considered felonies of moral reproach under Georgian law,” according to a Dec. 1 filing by the Attorney General of Georgia filed with the Bureau of State Administrative Hearings.

Pritchard reportedly ran in nine elections — four in 2008 and five in 2010 — while on probation.

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

  • July 15, 2008 General primaries

  • August 5, 2008 Runoff in the general primary

  • November 4, 2008 general election

  • 2 December 2008 Run-off in the general elections

  • May 11, 2010 special election

  • June 8, 2010 special election

  • July 20, 2010 general primaries

  • August 10, 2010 Runoff in the general primary

  • November 2, 2010 general election

Pritchard believed his plea was not a contradiction and was unaware of his suspended sentence for a voting felony, according to comments shared by a state election investigator from Pritchard’s attorney during the February 2021 election committee meeting.

Due to the obligation to retain documents from the years 2008 and 2010 were no longer available when the election complaint was received, the investigator informed the board.

The investigator said he doesn’t know why the issue isn’t being addressed at the county level.

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

Pritchard’s attorney later added that on November 8, 2017, his client received a pardon for his Pennsylvania crimes. The attorney suggested the statute of limitations on the allegations expired years ago and that, as a former prosecutor, he doesn’t believe there is evidence at the time “that Mr Pritchard broke any law.”

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

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

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

In the planning document filed Dec. 1, the state elections committee requested that a hearing in Fannin County be scheduled the week of Jan. 9 “due to the potential unavailability of attorneys and witnesses currently known to the state elections committee attorney.” ”

DCN will update this story as more information becomes available.

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