2018 Georgia Code
Title 21 - Elections
Chapter 2 - Elections and Primaries Generally
Article 1 - General Provisions
§ 21-2-6. Qualifications of candidates for county and municipal office; determination of qualifications
(a) Every candidate for county office who is certified by the county executive committee of a political party or who files a notice of candidacy, and every candidate for municipal office who is certified by a municipal executive committee of a political party or who files a notice of candidacy, shall meet the constitutional and statutory qualifications for holding the office being sought.
(b) The superintendent upon his or her own motion may challenge the qualifications of any candidate referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section at any time prior to the election of such candidate. Within two weeks after the deadline for qualifying, any elector who is eligible to vote for any such candidate may challenge the qualifications of the candidate by filing a written complaint with the superintendent giving the reasons why the elector believes the candidate is not qualified to seek and hold the public office for which the candidate is offering. Upon his or her own motion or upon a challenge being filed, the superintendent shall notify the candidate in writing that his or her qualifications are being challenged and the reasons therefor and shall advise the candidate that he or she is setting a hearing on the matter and shall inform the candidate of the date, time, and place of the hearing.
(c) The superintendent shall determine if the candidate is qualified to seek and hold the public office for which such candidate is offering. If the superintendent determines that the candidate is not qualified, the superintendent shall withhold the name of the candidate from the ballot or strike such candidate's name from the ballot if the ballots have been printed. If there is insufficient time to strike the candidate's name or reprint the ballots, a prominent notice shall be placed at each affected polling place advising voters of the disqualification of the candidate and all votes cast for such candidate shall be void and shall not be counted.
(d) In the event that a candidate pays his or her qualifying fee with a check that is subsequently returned for insufficient funds, the superintendent shall automatically find that such candidate has not met the qualifications for holding the office being sought, unless the bank, credit union, or other financial institution returning the check certifies in writing by an officer's or director's oath that the bank, credit union, or financial institution erred in returning the check.
(e) The elector filing the challenge or the candidate challenged shall have the right to appeal the decision of the superintendent by filing a petition in the superior court of the county in which the candidate resides within ten days after the entry of the final decision by the superintendent. The filing of the petition shall not itself stay the decision of the superintendent; however, the reviewing court may order a stay upon appropriate terms for good cause shown. As soon as possible after service of the petition, the superintendent shall transmit the original or a certified copy of the entire record of the proceedings under review to the reviewing court. The review shall be conducted by the court without a jury and shall be confined to the record. The court shall not substitute its judgment for that of the superintendent as to the weight of the evidence on questions of fact. The court may affirm the decision or remand the case for further proceedings. The court may reverse or modify the decision if substantial rights of the appellant have been prejudiced because the findings, inferences, conclusions, or decisions of the superintendent are:
(1) In violation of the Constitution or laws of this state;
(2) In excess of the statutory authority of the superintendent;
(3) Made upon unlawful procedures;
(4) Affected by other error of law;
(5) Clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative, and substantial evidence on the whole record; or
(6) Arbitrary or capricious or characterized by an abuse of discretion or a clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion.
An aggrieved party may obtain a review of any final judgment of the superior court by the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, as provided by law.