COVINGTON — Covington City Councilman Anthony Henderson is facing allegations that he committed voter fraud in the 2017 municipal election.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, evidence suggests that Henderson allegedly assisted or convinced nine people to falsify their residency information on voter registration cards so that they could vote for him. Six of those people allegedly voted for Henderson, even though they did not live in Post 3 West Ward, Henderson’s district in the city.
The State Election Board conducted a hearing on the allegations on Feb. 17 and voted to bind the cases over to the state Attorney General’s Office and the Newton County District Attorney’s Office for possible prosecution.
“We will continue to root out voting fraud and make sure anyone guilty of it faces prosecution,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger following the hearing where Henderson’s and other cases were heard. “Fortunately, these individual cases aren’t large enough to change the outcome of a statewide election. Their prosecution is an example to others who may contemplate skirting the rules that protect election integrity in Georgia.”
Henderson declined comment and referred all questions to his attorney, Edward Tolley of Athens.
The Secretary of State’s Office began looking into the allegations after being contacted in 2017 by former Newton County elections director Angela Mantle, who reported a suspicious pattern of voter registrations. According to the Secretary of State, several of the suspicious registrations used a residence on Puckett Street as their voting address but had a mailing address in the county.
As part of the investigation, the Secretary of State’s Office interviewed 10 residents. In one instance they found that a woman who had not lived in Covington for five years listed her address on Puckett Street at a vacant house where there was no power.
Residents who allegedly participated in using false voter registration addresses or allowing false addresses to be inserted for them were: Jaquory Saxton, Larry Saxton, Casetra Marks, Arthur Holmes, Kabrea Lassiter, Demetrius Darty, Adasa David, Jeryca Lattimore and James Huff. According to the Secretary of State, six of the nine cast votes — Jaquory Saxton, Larry Saxton, Marks, Holmes, Lattimore and Lassiter.
Henderson, who may be the youngest candidate ever elected to the City Council, won the 2017 election outright in a three-way race against Jeffrey Johnson and incumbent Ocie Franklin. Henderson garnered 273 votes to Franklin’s 92 and Johnson’s 108.
Henderson, who works for Newton County as a code enforcement officer, was placed on administrative leave on Feb. 19 pending the outcome of the case against him. According to the county’s employee handbook, an employee may be placed on administrative leave when the employee is being investigated by Newton County for possible misconduct or by a law enforcement department for possible criminal law violation. Under the county policy, Henderson was paid for the first 10 days of the administrative leave.
Henderson’s father, J.C. Henderson, represents District 4 on the Newton County Board of Commissioners.
Prior to working as a code enforcement officer, Henderson worked in the jail as a detention officer for the Newton County Sheriff’s Office.