State election officials probe whether Ferguson voted illegally

The Georgia secretary of state’s office has opened an investigation into whether U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson voted illegally during last year’s midterm elections.

That probe was launched the day after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Ferguson voted in person in Troup County during last year’s primary, general and runoff elections despite having moved to a different home in Pike County, roughly 63 miles away.

It’s illegal in Georgia for voters to cast a ballot in a county where they don’t have a residence.

The existence of the investigation was confirmed by a document obtained this week by the AJC through the Georgia Open Records Act. The secretary of state’s office redacted the name of the person who initiated the complaint that spurred the investigation.

Ferguson’s spokesman has repeatedly blamed the votes he cast in Troup County on an “administrative error” without providing any details or explanation about how that would have caused the congressman to vote in a county where he no longer lives.

Voter registration records indicate an incorrect city was listed for Ferguson’s address last spring, but that issue was corrected before last year’s elections.

Property records show that Ferguson sold his home in West Point, which is located in Troup County, in April, ahead of the May primary. Ferguson also updated his congressional website to say that he and his wife lived in The Rock, a community that is located a couple of counties over.

Yet the Republican congressman voted in person in Troup County as recently as Nov. 28, during in-person early voting before the Dec. 6 runoff for the U.S. Senate.

Ferguson’s office said he was “domiciled” in Troup County when he voted there but wouldn’t explain how that squares with a move to Pike County.

Ferguson didn’t update his voter registration to reflect his address in The Rock until late 2022. A spokesman for Ferguson wouldn’t answer questions about when the congressman moved and why he appeared to have voted in Troup County despite establishing residency elsewhere.

The secretary of state’s office investigates all complaints when they’re received, and it had no comment on an ongoing investigation, spokesman Mike Hassinger said.

After the investigation is completed, its findings will be presented to the State Election Board, which has the power to levy fines of up to $5,000 per violation of election laws. The board issued a public reprimand and a cease-and-desist order in September to a voter who lived in Baldwin County but voted in Hancock County.