(For the interview of Irene Dennard, the investigator answered that line, "Yes." Then prosecutors charged her daughter, Debra, with felonies. Debra Dennard had helped her mother and father to vote as they wished.)
After four years and three trials, Smart was acquitted, and the case against her fellow activists collapsed in December 2014.
But the problems go far beyond Brooks County. A key problem was and remains confusion over what's illegal under the state's law on absentee voting. State officials and prosecutors have interpreted the law to criminalize even a child taking a parent's completed ballot to the mailbox at their request. The Secretary of State's lead investigator on Smart's case told jurors that it's a felony and people "know they can't do this."
But the law in some cases appears to say outright that such assistance is not a crime at all. Following the controversial Brooks County investigation and media coverage of it, the state attorney general's office seemed to take up the cause of reform. Just helping voters fill out a ballot envelope is not a crime, the lawyers told voting officials. The reform remains incomplete, however, the AJC showed in a recent story, as Secretary of State Brian Kemp pushed back.
As for Smart, now she's not just campaigning for others. Last week, Smart was sworn in to her own position as a newly elected member of the Quitman city commission. Once a symbol for many of government overreach, now she is part of the government.
Smart's sister, Diane Thomas, is the one Smart campaigned for when all the trouble started. Thomas confirmed the news of Smart's victory and swearing-in to the AJC with a lilt in her voice.
So, did Thomas return the favor and campaign for Smart?
She laughed. "Yes, I did. Had to do that."
Smart's agenda includes increasing public participation at government meetings and more equitable distribution of road projects, Thomas said. And Thomas, too, intends to run again.