Dem chair accuses ex-Rep of illegally voting on East Cobb cityhood

4/2/19 - Atlanta-  Representative Matt Dollar, district 45, holds a cigar in his mouth while a bill is being presented at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. Today is sine die day, the final day of the 2019 legislature. EMILY HANEY / emily.haney@ajc.com

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4/2/19 - Atlanta- Representative Matt Dollar, district 45, holds a cigar in his mouth while a bill is being presented at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. Today is sine die day, the final day of the 2019 legislature. EMILY HANEY / emily.haney@ajc.com

Matthew Dollar denied the allegations and state law might allow him to vote at a prior address

Editor’s note: After initial publication of this story, the AJC learned of a provision in state law that appears to allow voters to cast ballots based on a previous address if a timely change of address has not been submitted to the board of registrars. The story has been updated.

Cobb County’s elections director forward a complaint to the Secretary of State’s office that alleges a former state representative used an outdated address to vote in the East Cobb cityhood referendum last week.

Jacquelyn Bettadapur, the chair of Cobb Democrats, filed the complaint against Matthew Dollar, a Republican who resigned in February to take a job as deputy commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia.

Dollar was the primary sponsor on the East Cobb cityhood legislation. He denied the allegations Monday, but did elaborate. However, state law appears to allow voters to cast based on old addresses in certain circumstances.

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The law says electors who have moved should vote at the precinct for their new address as long as they submit that change in writing to the board of registrars by the fifth Monday prior to an election. This applies to intercounty address changes as well. It’s unclear if Dollar provided a written notice.

In cases where the elector doesn’t notify the board of registrars on time, state law says they “shall vote in the precinct of such elector’s former residence for such election or primary and for any runoff resulting therefrom.”

If Dollar did not provide a written notice, it appears he would be allowed to vote using his prior address.

In an email provided to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bettadapur said Dollar voted Wednesday using a home address off Parkaire Crossing. Secretary of State records show Dollar’s registered voting address as the Parkaire Crossing address cited by Bettadapur.

Dollar sold that property in February, according to Cobb County property records. The only land he owns in the county, according to records, is an address off Wood Thrush Way, which is outside of the proposed city limits for East Cobb.

Dollar was the primary sponsor for the East Cobb cityhood bill and has been a vocal proponent of allowing the wealthy community of 50,000 residents to incorporate their own city.

“Why do the people of Smyrna deserve that level of self-governance, and the people of my community do not even deserve the right to decide if they want it?” Dollar previously argued.

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Bettadapur said Dollar purposefully did not update his voting address so he could vote in the East Cobb referendum.

“His current residence on Wood Thrush Way is outside the proposed city limits and thus, the referendum would not have appeared on his ballot if he had truthfully updated his voter registration,” Bettadapur said in the Monday email to the Cobb County Board of Elections.

Janine Eveler, the county’s elections director, told the AJC she would forward the complaint to the Secretary of State’s investigative division for further review. They will determine whether Dollar has violated state law, with Eveler citing two potential violations: making false statements under oath and voting by an unqualified elector.