MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Former District 10 Representative David Cole turned himself into the Madison County Jail on Tuesday afternoon to begin his sentence for voter fraud.
Alabama Rep. David Cole resigned from his state house seat on August 31 after applying to plead guilty to a voter fraud felony charge. The Alabama House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter’s Office told News 19 they received Cole’s resignation letter just after 2 p.m. that day.
As part of his plea agreement with the Alabama Attorney General’s office, Cole pleaded guilty to knowingly voting at a polling place where he was not authorized. The plea deal called for a three-year sentence – with 60 days in the Madison County jail and the remainder on probation.
The plea agreement also said Cole agrees that the 60 days in jail is a “material part” of the plea agreement and the state agrees to not bring any additional charges based on his past conduct known to the state. It also includes Cole’s agreement to resign from office and pay back all money he earned as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives.
The agreement says that in 2021 Cole planned to run for the District 10 seat but also knew because of redistricting his residence — which was in District 10 — might end up being in another district.
The House redistricting resulted in Cole’s home being located in District 4, not District 10, according to the plea agreement. So he asked a friend who had a house in the District if he could lease space to sleep in, the agreement says. So on Nov. 5, 2021, Cole agreed to a $5 a month lease for a 5×5 area, according to the agreement. On Nov. 8, a year before the 2022 general election, Cole filled out an online voter registration form claiming that home was now his residence, the plea agreement says.
But, Cole never made any attempt to move into the home, never ate or slept there, visited the house twice and never stepped past the foyer, the plea agreement says. The agreement says despite those facts, Cole used that address to run for the District 10 seat.
The plea deal says Cole voted absentee using the address in the 2022 primary and in the 2022 runoff, he “knowingly voted in person at a polling place where he was not authorized to vote” because he had falsely used his friend’s home address to register within District 10, the plea agreement claims.
Cole was arrested on August 29 and charged with voting in a location where he was not authorized to vote or voting in more than one location.
The District 10 special election primary to fill the now vacant House seat is set for December 10, and a runoff, if necessary is set for January 9.