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Alabama lawmaker arrested on voter fraud charge

David Cole has faced a lengthy election challenge related to his residency.

State Rep. David Cole's mugshot on the Madison County Sheriff Office's website.
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Rep. David Cole was arrested Tuesday on a felony charge of election fraud for voting at an unauthorized location. Cole’s arrest stems from allegations contained in an election challenge related to residency issues first highlighted by APR in October. 

The voting fraud charge is a Class C felony. 

APR also reported last week that Cole had become the target of an Alabama Attorney General’s Office investigation. 

“This afternoon, the Speaker’s Office became aware of David Cole’s arrest on the charge of fraud—voting at an unauthorized location. As this is an ongoing investigation, we are still waiting to learn more details as they become available,” Alabama House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter said in a statement. “In recent years, the Alabama House has prioritized legislation that promotes election integrity, and we believe that any allegation of fraud must be addressed regardless of the party, public official, or candidate involved.”

Cole’s residence sits in District 4, but he used the address of a family friend to qualify for office – and apparently to vote – in District 10. One of his challengers in that race, Elijah Boyd, filed a challenge based on Cole’s residency. 

As part of that election challenge, Cole was forced to sit for a deposition and answer several pointed questions about his residency and about various documents he provided to prove that he lived within District 10 in the Madison area one year prior to last November’s general election. 

Those documents, sources familiar with the AG’s investigation told APR, were the primary focus of the investigation, as are Cole’s responses in the deposition, which seem to raise serious questions about his residency. 

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According to Alabama law, the House of Representatives was required to hold a hearing on the election challenge, which was filed by another candidate in the race for District 10. 

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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