Georgia Elections

Are you a county election board looking for independent legal counsel?
Are you involved in an election contest, a recount, or a challenge to a candidate’s qualifications to run for office?
Have you received a Notice from the State Election Board?
Are you an attorney who needs a consultation on the Election Code?

Ann can help with all of these situations, and the many others that arise in the context of elections. As an Assistant Attorney General, Ann represented the State Election Board from 2009–2012. She then led a bi-partisan Election Code Review Committee at the behest of then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp from 2012–2014. This experience gave Ann unparalleled familiarity with Georgia’s Election Code. Since launching her own practice in 2014, Ann has represented or advised all of the types of clients previously listed: county boards of election; political candidates; individuals; and other attorneys. If you have a legal issue regarding an election, please contact Ann.

County Boards of Election

Election law is a highly specialized area. Many of the laws and rules are technical and few are intuitive. They change every single year. Especially during voting periods, issues come up very quickly and courts will often schedule expedited hearings to resolve them. Ann’s experience enables her to provide fast, accurate, and well-informed advice and representation.

Further, conflicts arise between Boards of Election and County Commissions, meaning that the general county attorney cannot represent the Board of Election. If you are a member of a Board of Election and think your Board should retain independent legal counsel, Ann is available to help.

Candidates

Election contests and recounts

As with county boards of election, political candidates often find themselves in the midst of emergency litigation. Often this litigation takes the form of an election contest, in which a voter or a losing candidate challenges the validity of the winning candidate’s victory. Challengers must follow a very specific set of notice and timing requirements with which few lawyers are familiar. In an election contest between opponents in a primary, the contest must be resolved before the general election or the contest becomes moot.

Ann’s expertise in this area enables her to either successfully frame or defend an election contest. The Supreme Court’s opinion in Dawkins-Haigler v. Anderson is proof of Ann’s knowledge, skill, and experience.

Candidates may also need legal counsel for recounts, which occur when the margin between the winning and losing candidate is very small.

Ann is available to assist you if you find yourself in either of these situations.

Residency and other qualification challenges

Candidates also occasionally face residency or other types of qualification challenges, including issues regarding taxes, criminal history, or specific experience in more specialized races such as District Attorney. These also must be resolved quickly so that unqualified candidates do not appear on ballots. Please contact Ann if you have a concern about this type of issue.

The State Election Board

The State Election Board is a five-member body which is charged with considering violations of the Election Code and passing administrative election rules which supplement the Election Code. It generally meets quarterly. Like other state agencies, it both finds “probable cause” regarding whether a violation of the Election Code has occurred, and then later accepts or rejects proposed administrative resolutions of these Election Code violations. Since many violations of the Election Code are also classified as crimes, the State Election Board may refer a case to the local District Attorney for criminal prosecution.

If an administrative violation of the Election Code is found or admitted, the State Election Board may order a violator to cease and desist; publicly reprimand the violator; or impose a civil penalty. The State Election Board may not impose a civil penalty without giving the alleged violator an administrative hearing.

Alleged violators can be voters, election officials, or candidates. Types of violations that voters are often accused of include improperly submitting an absentee ballot, double voting, issues with registration, and inappropriate conduct with elections officials.

If you have received notice that you are being investigated for an election violation, please contact Ann as soon as possible. Because of the complexities of the Election Code, it is important to have an attorney familiar with its provisions guide you through the process. For more information, please review the duties of the State Election Board.

Consults

If you are a county attorney, or an attorney who finds yourself handling an election case, Ann can provide consultative services. These may include serving as an expert witness, writing an advisory memo, or simply answering questions on an as-needed basis. Please contact Ann if you would like to discuss the details of this type of arrangement.

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