Election challenge rejected – Coastal Courier
The Georgia Supreme Court has dismissed an election challenge by former Long County Estates Court Judge Bobby Harrison Smith against current Estates Court Judge Teresa L. Odum, who beat Smith by nine vote in the general elections of June 2020.
The decision upheld a previous ruling by Chatham County Superior Court Judge John Morse, who dismissed the request of Smith and his attorney Jake Evans for a re-election.
Evans’ petition stated, in part, that the June 9 election “was full of irregularities and errors which, in total, cast doubt on the outcome of the election – a difference of only nine votes. These irregularities and errors include (1) non-residents of Long County voting in the election, (2) missing ballots reappearing in a recount, and uncertainty as to whether the ballots were been counted twice, (3) the postal ballots were never sent to the people who requested them and the votes of these people being rejected because they could not vote due to public health issues, (4 ) eligible voters were wrongly returned to the ballot box, (5) Long County election voters inappropriately using the newly purchased voting machines, which was wrongly rejected and their votes wrongly rejected.
However, the Supreme Court ruling, released on August 24, said: “The evidence presented at trial supports the trial court’s ruling that among the disputed voters, only the six-double and one Mover ballots should. be rejected. These seven rounds of voting are not sufficient to cast doubt on the election results given the margin of victory of nine votes in this case. Accordingly, we see no error in the trial court’s refusal of Smith’s motion to challenge the election.
Odum’s attorney, Luke Moses of Jones Osteen & Jones in Hinesville, in an interview with law.com told the Daily Report: “We are delighted that the Supreme Court has made the decision it has taken. This helps protect voters from being deprived of the right to vote in the state, especially voters who vote by mail. “
Moses said the petition for a re-election would have overturned the mail-in ballots, which contained errors but still reflected the will of those who voted and then testified in court that their votes reflected their choice.
“Some of those voters signed their ballot in the wrong place when they cast it,” Moses told law.com. “There was another person who voted by mail who testified that he was illiterate and that his wife had filled out her ballot for him and signed his name. He testified that this vote expressed his will [because] he discussed the choices with his wife.
Moses added that the Supreme Court ruling shows the court’s willingness to side with voters and let their votes count. Moses said he would strengthen election laws in the state.
In an emailed statement to the Daily Report on law.com, Evans wrote: “We are disappointed with the court order as it violates Georgian law and significantly undermines electoral integrity in Georgia. My client, Bobby Smith, remains honored to have served the people of Long County as an Estates Judge and expresses his gratitude for the opportunity to do so.
You can read the previous report on the petition here: https://coastalcourier.com/news/long-probate-race-challenge-rejected/
A copy of the Supreme Court ruling will be available for download below