Statement from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office of Inspector General Regarding Preliminary Investigation into Allegations of Voter Ineligibility in the 2009 Atlanta Mayoral Race
Atlanta – The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office of Inspector General today issued the following statement regarding the preliminary investigation into allegations of voter ineligibility in the 2009 Atlanta mayoral race:
“On Monday, December 7, 2009, the Secretary of State’s Elections Division received a complaint from an organization called Citizens for Fair Atlanta Elections, alleging that approximately 1,300 ballots were cast in the Atlanta mayoral election by voters whose addresses no longer exist. The Secretary of State’s Office of Inspector General immediately opened a preliminary investigation into this allegation.
“Based on preliminary findings, we believe that the original list provided by Citizens for Fair Atlanta Elections is not a list of voters who actually cast a ballot in the Atlanta mayoral election. Rather, it appears to have been created or pooled from a larger list of registered voters. From this list, approximately 40 voters do not appear to have valid residence addresses. The Inspector General’s Office will continue its investigation to determine the eligibility status of these voters. We are forwarding these preliminary investigative findings to the Fulton County Board of Elections and Registration as it conducts its own investigation into this matter.
“Though Georgia election law provides the Fulton County Board of Elections and Registration the authority to certify this municipal election, the Secretary of State’s Office will provide any information we can to assist them in their responsibilities under the law, and to protect the integrity of our elections process. We will continue to thoroughly investigate this matter and any potential elections violations.”
The Official Code of Georgia, Annotated (O.C.G.A.) provides the processes for election certification, election recounts, and options for candidates to challenge election outcomes:
1) O.C.G.A. § 21-2-70(9); 21-2-497; and 21-2-502(d) provide for election certification at the local level. Municipal elections are certified only by the appropriate county or municipal election superintendents.
2) O.C.G.A. § 21-2-495 provides for election recounts. A recount can be called by the election superintendent or by the losing candidate, if the losing margin was one percent or less.
3) O.C.G.A. § 21-2-520 through 21-2-529 provide for contesting the outcome of an election. An election contest must be filed in county superior court.