Friday, May 1, 2009

Former Chattooga County Judge Resigns After Indictment

Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel today announced the resignation of former Chattooga County Judge Carlton Vines.

Vines was indicted September 5, 2008 on felony charges of illegal possession of absentee ballots, conspiracy to commit election fraud, and false swearing. The indictment followed a joint investigation by the Secretary of State’s Office and other agencies.

“Voter fraud undermines the integrity of our elections processes and the public’s trust, and will not be tolerated,” Handel said. “Carlton Vines’ resignation is a victory for Georgia’s election laws and Chattooga County voters.”

Pursuant to the consent order, Vines will resign his position as State Court Judge in Chattooga County effective May 1, 2009. Further, Vines agrees to not seek, request, or accept elected or appointed judicial office in the future.

Handel added, “I want to thank the cooperating law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and investigators in the Secretary of State’s Office of Inspector General for their invaluable assistance on this case.”

In 2007, Secretary Handel created the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office of Inspector General to add efficiency and professionalism to the investigations, inspections, and prosecutions processes. The Secretary of State’s Office of Inspector General oversees investigations of elections inaccuracies and fraud, investigations of securities brokers, and inspections of professional license holders.

Karen Handel was sworn in as Secretary of State in January 2007. The Secretary of State's office offers important services to our citizens and our business community. Among the office’s wide-ranging responsibilities, the Secretary of State is charged with conducting efficient and secure elections, the registration of corporations, and the regulation of securities and professional license holders. The office also oversees the Georgia Archives and the Capitol Museum.
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