Secretary of State opens investigation into Blakely city council candidate

Updated: Oct. 30, 2017 at 6:43 PM EDT
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(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)

BLAKELY, GA (WALB) - A Blakely City Council candidate could possibly face criminal charges after it appeared he offered a reward on social media to people who voted.

As of right now, Travis Wimbush's name is still on the ballots in Blakely, but the secretary of state has an open investigation.

Wimbush posted on Facebook saying anyone who voted on that day would be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card. The post continued on by saying "Vote Travis Wimbush City Council District 2 Post 1.

The post has since been removed from Travis Wimbush's page.

Blakely's mayor and city attorney Tommy Coleman were both made aware of the post.

They told WALB it was sent it to the Secretary of State to make a decision about what will come next.

Under the law, it's illegal to offer a reward in exchange for voting.

The law states that "any person who gives or receives, offers to give or receive, or participates in the giving and receiving of money or gifts for the purpose of registering as a voter, voting or voting got a particular candidate in any primary election shall be guilty of a felony."

Coleman said he's heard of bribery happening before, but not across social media.

"Those kind of things are certainly against the law and irregular, but they come up relatively and frequently.I don't think I've ever seen anybody send it out on Facebook," explained Coleman.

The Secretary of State's office said it has an open investigation into the matter.

The office said when it learns about a potential election law violation, the Investigations Division has the authority to conduct some preliminary fact-finding and, if warranted, open a formal investigation.

Ultimately investigators will present their findings in front of the State Election Board, which decides whether to dismiss the case, issue a letter of instruction, or bind the case over to the Attorney General's office.

The attorney general could then refer the case to the district attorney.

WALB reached out to Wimbush on Facebook.

He said he is still trying to get a full understanding of the situation before commenting.

Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved.

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