QUITMAN, GA (WALB) –Some newly-elected officials in Brooks County are among ten people arrested after a five month investigation into voter fraud.
The suspects are accused of illegally helping people vote by absentee ballot.
State officials launched an investigation after a huge number of absentee ballots were cast in the July primary election.
Friends and family of the suspects say the whole thing isn't fair.
These suspects face felony charges for unlawful possession of ballots and violating the procedure for voting absentee ballots.
"If you take someone else's ballot and you go take it and mail it in for them into the registrar you're illegally possessing that ballot," said GBI Special Agent in Charge Steve Turner. "You can only posess your ballot. You cannot possess someone else's."
Among those arrested are Nancy Dennard whose on the school board now along with Linda Troutman and Elizabeth Thomas, both recently elected. Robert Dennard's just charged with unlawful possession of votes.
"If you're assisting someone you can only assist them for certain reasons for some sort of disability as well as if you assist, you have to sign the oath that you did assist them," said Turner.
979 absentee ballots were cast in the July primary. That's an unusually high number. The GBI and Secretary of State's Office conducted 350 interviews during their investigation.
Family members and friends of the suspects were outside the Brooks County Jail Tuesday.
"The proof will be when we get to court," said Rev. Floyd Rose with the Valdosta Lowndes County Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. "We don't think there's going to be anything to this at all."
He says it's reminiscent of the 1960s when there was often a conspiracy to deny blacks the right to vote.
"This vote has been taken at least three times and these people won every time and how here on the eve of them being seated to take power certainly, they're all arrested, all blacks," said Rev. Rose.
The GBI says more arrests could be made and more charges could be filed.
Supporters of those arrested Tuesday plan to have a rally Wednesday night at Bethel AME Church on South Court Street.