Georgia Republican Party official voted illegally nine times, judge rules

A judge ruled this week that a top Georgia Republican Party official, who has promoted former President Donald Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud affecting the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, has repeatedly voted illegally.

Brian Pritchard, first vice chairman of the Georgia Republican Party and a conservative talk show host, was fined $5,000 for voting illegally and registering to vote while serving a sentence for a felony conviction. Pritchard was also ordered not to commit further violations, to face public reprimand for his conduct and to pay the State Election Board’s investigative costs.

In a 25-page ruling Wednesday, Administrative Law Judge Lisa Boggs affirmed the board’s finding that Pritchard had voted illegally nine times in defiance of his extended probation in connection with a pair of felony convictions dating back nearly 30 years.

Pritchard was initially sentenced in 1996 to three years’ probation in connection with felony forgery charges in Pennsylvania, according to the ruling.

Pritchard’s probation was revoked three times: in 1999, when he moved to Georgia, and again in 2002 and 2004. A judge in 2004 imposed a new seven-year probationary sentence, which made Pritchard illegible to vote in the state until 2011.

In 2008, Pritchard filled out a voter registration form with Gilmer County’s Board of Elections and signed a sworn statement asserting that he was “not serving a sentence for having been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude.” Pritchard cast a series of Georgia ballots, including four that year in primary and general elections and runoffs and five more in 2010 in special elections and primaries and the general election.

Pritchard testified that “he was not aware of anything that would have prevented him from registering to vote when he signed the application” and that he didn’t believe three years of probation remained in his sentence, according to court documents.

Boggs said in Wednesday’s ruling that “upon careful consideration of the evidence in its totality the Court does not find the Respondent’s explanations credible or convincing. At the very least, even if the Court accepts he did not know about his felony sentences, the record before this Court demonstrates that he should have known.”

An attorney for Pritchard and the Georgia Republican Party didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night.

A questionnaire Pritchard filled out when he was running for first vice chairman of the Georgia Republican Party last year said that he sought to “leverage the influence of the grassroots conservative movement to improve election integrity.”

Before he became the state party’s first vice chairman, Pritchard was defeated in a special election for the state House seat held by Speaker David Ralston last year.

While he was running for that seat, he blasted news stories surfacing around his voting record, suggesting in a 2022 post on his website that his detractors “want to try to manipulate an election and try to make me look like public enemy number one.”

Pritchard has also cast doubt on President Joe Biden’s legitimately winning the 2020 presidential election, saying on an episode of his talk show in 2022, while gesturing at a button on his microphone, “The button says ‘stolen.’ This is what they did to us, because I do not believe 81 million people voted for this guy.”

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