2014 Georgia Code
Title 21 - ELECTIONS
Chapter 2 - ELECTIONS AND PRIMARIES GENERALLY
Article 13 - CONTESTED ELECTIONS AND PRIMARIES
§ 21-2-524 - Filing and allegations of petition to contest primary or election; service of petition; verification; notice of proceedings to answer petition; service of special process; amendment
(a) A petition to contest the result of a primary or election shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the superior court having jurisdiction within five days after the official consolidation of the returns of that particular office or question and certification thereof by the election official having responsibility for taking such action under this chapter or within five days after the official consolidation and certification of the returns of that particular office or question by the election official having responsibility for taking such action under this chapter following a recount pursuant to Code Section 21-2-495 and shall allege:
(1) The contestant's qualification to institute the contest;
(2) The contestant's desire to contest the result of such primary or election and the name of the nomination, office, or question involved in the contest;
(3) The name of the defendant;
(4) The name of each person who was a candidate at such primary or election for such nomination or office in the case of a contest involving same;
(5) Each ground of contest;
(6) The date of the official declaration of the result in dispute;
(7) The relief sought; and
(8) Such other facts as are necessary to provide a full, particular, and explicit statement of the cause of contest.
(b) The State Election Board shall be served with a copy of the petition, as provided in subsection (a) of this Code section, by serving the same on the chairperson thereof, by mailing a copy to the chairperson by certified or registered mail or statutory overnight delivery; and a certificate that such service has been made shall be filed by the plaintiff or his or her attorney.
(c) When an error in the counting of votes is alleged as a ground of contest, it is sufficient for the contestant to state generally that he or she believes that error was committed in the counting of the votes cast for the filling of the nomination or office in dispute, or for or against the question in dispute, in one or more specified precincts; and it shall not be necessary for the contestant to offer evidence to substantiate such allegation. If a recount of the votes cast in any precinct or precincts shall change the result in dispute, any aggrieved litigant may require a recount of the votes affecting such result, which were cast in any other precinct or precincts, by amending his or her pleadings and requesting such relief.
(d) The petition shall be verified by the affidavit of each contestant. Such affidavit shall be taken and subscribed before some person authorized by law to administer oaths and shall state that the contestant believes the facts alleged therein are true, that according to the best of his or her knowledge and belief the contested result of the primary or election is illegal and the return thereof incorrect, and that the petition to contest the same is made in good faith.
(e) A statement of the grounds of contest shall not be rejected, nor the proceedings dismissed by any court, for want of form, if the grounds of contest are alleged with such certainty as will advise the defendant of the particular proceeding or cause for which the primary or election is contested.
(f) Upon such petition being filed, the clerk of the superior court shall issue notice, in the form of special process directed to the sheriff of such county, requiring the defendant and any other person named in such petition as a candidate for such nomination or office, if any, to appear and answer such petition, on a day to be fixed in such notice, not more than ten days nor less than five days after the service of such notice. Such notice, with a copy of the petition attached, shall be served by the sheriff upon the defendant and any other person named therein in the same manner as petitions and process are served in other civil cases. On or before the day fixed in such notice, unless for good cause shown the presiding judge shall extend the time therefor, the defendant shall appear and answer such petition and may set up by way of answer or cross action any right of interest he or she may have or claim in such proceeding. Any other person who was a candidate at such primary or election for the nomination or office involved and upon whom notice was served as provided in this subsection shall be deemed a litigant to such proceeding and may set up by way of answer or cross action any right of interest or claim he or she may have.
(g) After filing, any petition, cross action, or answer may be amended with leave of the court so as to include the specification of additional grounds of contest, other relevant facts, or prayer for further relief. After each amendment, a reasonable time to respond shall be given by the court to any opposing litigant.
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