Atmore residents cleared of fraud

Published 10:49 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Florida secretary of state’s office has cleared local Republican party chairman Jeff Peacock and his wife Jodi of allegations of elections fraud.

According to a letter from Maria Matthews, an assistant general counsel in the secretary of state’s office, the Peacocks registered to vote in Florida in 1995 and then registered to vote in Alabama in 2009, when they changed their state of legal residence.

“They did not at any time vote in Florida and Alabama during the same time or cast more than one vote in an election,” Matthews wrote.

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Matthews said her office found no criminal violations, but has requested a certification of registration from an election official in Alabama and forwarded that certification to David Stafford, the supervisor of elections for Escambia County, Fla.

Elizabeth Campbell’s complaint alleged that Peacock violated the sections of Florida elections law related to submitting false voter information and fraud concerning a vote. She also alleged the couple were unqualified electors willfully voting.

Campbell, a Republican Party committeewoman, said she knew about the alleged violations because of her party position, but that she filed the complaint as a private citizen.

Campbell included several documents in her complaint, which show that Peacock voted in Florida in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

When Peacock ran for state Senate this year in Alabama, he said he was a three-year resident of Alabama; he purchased a home, which is listed as his homestead, in Alabama in 2005. As of June, according to documents submitted by Campbell, Peacock was still a registered voter in Florida.

He also swore a loyalty oath for committee chairman in Florida in 2008, stating his residence was in Century, Fla. Florida law does not require a person who registers in a new state to let the old jurisdiction know that he or she has registered elsewhere, Matthews wrote in the response to the complaint.

A similar complaint was filed with the Alabama Republican party when Peacock was a candidate for state Senate District 22 earlier this year.

Peacock said he was pleased to have the issue resolved.

“I have said all along that this was a frivolous and politically motivated complaint,” he said. “The fact that it was dismissed so quickly, before even clearing its first hurdle, clearly demonstrates just how little credibility this complaint had. It is disturbing to consider how much potential damage one person can do by simply filing a baseless complaint and then broadcasting the story to the local media.”

“This puts to rest this non-issue that my political opponents, on both sides of the state line, have attempted to use against me over the last couple months. I have now been cleared of any wrongdoing in both Alabama and Florida. I sincerely hope that our local political dialogue will finally begin to focus on real issues, rather than ridiculous political games.”