By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Forsyth County deputy placed on leave for investigation into voter registration status

A Forsyth County Sheriff's Office deputy has been placed on administrative leave as state investigators look into questions surrounding the deputy’s voter registration status.

According to Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman, sheriff’s office Finance Section Director Sgt. James Cutcliff was placed on leave this week so that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation can investigate media reports alleging Cutcliff may have “illegally” registered his voting address in Forsyth County.

Georgia Secretary of State voter registration documents obtained by the Forsyth County News show that Cutcliff’s registered “residence address” is 202 Veterans Memorial Blvd., the address of the Forsyth County Jail, while a P.O. Box in Cumming is listed as his mailing address.

Forsyth County property records show that Cutcliff sold a residence off Magnolia Creek Drive in north Forsyth in 2007, but his name is not attached to any other county property.

On Thursday, GBI Office of Public Affairs Director Nelly Miles confirmed that their office would be conducting an inquiry into the "circumstances surrounding the voter registration address that has come into question." 

Cutcliff has not officially been accused of any crime, but knowingly registering false voter information is a felony under Georgia law, according to the Secretary of State’s website.

Attempts to reach Cutcliff for comment have been unsuccessful. Freeman told the FCN that the GBI would be handling all questions and information relayed during the investigation.

He also said that the decision to involve the state agency was made after the situation was reviewed by the sheriff’s office and the Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office.

Cutcliff has been an active voter in the county since 2002, according to documents obtained by the FCN, most recently casting a ballot in the general and primary elections in 2018, but also in the 2017 City of Cumming City Council election which ended in a tie between Post 1 Incumbent Chuck Welch and challenger Chad Crane.

During that race, it was discovered that both Welch and Crane received 441 votes, an unprecedented circumstance for which the city had no official protocol to resolve at the time. Crane later was chosen for the position in a runoff election in December 2017.

In a statement to the FCN, Mandi Smith, deputy director of Forsyth County Voter Registrations and Elections, said that their office could not comment on the situation beyond that the matter would be brought up at the May meeting of the Forsyth County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections.

“The Board of Registrars and Elections has a duty to examine the qualifications of each voter in Forsyth County and the City of Cumming and will conduct a hearing into this matter at their public meeting on May 7, 2019 at 9 a.m. to be held at the Forsyth County Voter Registrations and Elections Office,” Smith said.