2020 Georgia Code
Title 21 - Elections


Cross references.

- Prohibition against campaign activities by officers and employees of state while traveling in vehicles for which state is paying transportation mileage, § 50-19-8.

Law reviews.

- For article, "An Analysis of the Georgia Election Code," see 1 Ga. St. B. J. 299 (1965). For article, "Reasonable Restrictions on the Franchise: Georgia's Voter Identification Act of 2006," see 63 Mercer L. Rev. 1129 (2012). For article, "Judging Congressional Elections," see 51 Ga. L. Rev. 359 (2017).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Constitutional guarantees and protections.

- Although the federal Constitution confers no right to vote as such, it does guarantee to every citizen the right to participate on a fair and equal basis with all other citizens in the electoral process, once a state has chosen to select its public officials by popular vote. Duncan v. Poythress, 515 F. Supp. 327 (N.D. Ga.), aff'd, 657 F.2d 691 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. dismissed, 459 U.S. 1012, 103 S. Ct. 368, 74 L. Ed. 2d 504 (1982).

The right to vote, which encompasses such distinct concerns as the citizen's opportunity to cast a vote, the community's chance to be represented within a larger polity in proportion to its population, the racial group's ability to prevent the purposeful dilution of its voting power, the candidate's capacity to ensure a place on the ballot, and the constituent's chance to contribute to a chosen candidate implicates fundamental U.S. Const., amend. 1 and due process interests and is therefore protected, at least in part, by the due process and equal protection guarantees of U.S. Const., amend. 14 against state encroachment. Duncan v. Poythress, 515 F. Supp. 327 (N.D. Ga.), aff'd, 657 F.2d 691 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. dismissed, 459 U.S. 1012, 103 S. Ct. 368, 74 L. Ed. 2d 504 (1982).

The interests encompassed by the right to vote are among the liberties protected against state infringement by the due process guarantee. Duncan v. Poythress, 515 F. Supp. 327 (N.D. Ga.), aff'd, 657 F.2d 691 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. dismissed, 459 U.S. 1012, 103 S. Ct. 368, 74 L. Ed. 2d 504 (1982).

The right to vote is clearly fundamental, and is protected by both the due process and equal protection guarantees of U.S. Const., amend. 14. In either case, any alleged infringement of the right to vote must be carefully and meticulously scrutinized, for a state has precious little leeway in making it difficult for citizens to vote. Duncan v. Poythress, 515 F. Supp. 327 (N.D. Ga.), aff'd, 657 F.2d 691 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. dismissed, 459 U.S. 1012, 103 S. Ct. 368, 74 L. Ed. 2d 504 (1982).

Denial or abridgment of voting rights.

- If the right to vote is denied altogether or abridged in a manner which renders the electoral process fundamentally unfair, a violation of due process may be found. Duncan v. Poythress, 515 F. Supp. 327 (N.D. Ga.), aff'd, 657 F.2d 691 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. dismissed, 459 U.S. 1012, 103 S. Ct. 368, 74 L. Ed. 2d 504 (1982).

Discrimination amongst members of electorate.

- If the state discriminates in favor of some members of the electorate and against others, the equal protection guarantee may have been violated. Duncan v. Poythress, 515 F. Supp. 327 (N.D. Ga.), aff'd, 657 F.2d 691 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. dismissed, 459 U.S. 1012, 103 S. Ct. 368, 74 L. Ed. 2d 504 (1982).

Conduct favoring "ins" against "outs".

- When so fundamental a right as voting is concerned, the courts have not hesitated to conclude that any conduct which favors the "ins" against the "outs" is impermissible. Duncan v. Poythress, 515 F. Supp. 327 (N.D. Ga.), aff'd, 657 F.2d 691 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. dismissed, 459 U.S. 1012, 103 S. Ct. 368, 74 L. Ed. 2d 504 (1982).

State may regulate exercise of suffrage.

- A citizen has a constitutionally protected right to participate in elections on an equal basis with other citizens in the jurisdiction. This right is not absolute, for the states have the power to determine the conditions under which the right of suffrage may be exercised, absent the discrimination which the Constitution condemns. Duncan v. Poythress, 515 F. Supp. 327 (N.D. Ga.), aff'd, 657 F.2d 691 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. dismissed, 459 U.S. 1012, 103 S. Ct. 368, 74 L. Ed. 2d 504 (1982).

Election laws to be strictly construed.

- The election law is in derogation of the common law and must be strictly construed. Schloth v. Smith, 134 Ga. App. 529, 215 S.E.2d 292 (1975).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Segregation of ballots by race not authorized.

- The Election Code clearly and most definitely does not authorize the practice of segregating the ballots used by Negroes and white persons. 1965-66 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 66-182.

Mental retardation not ground for removal of elector from electors list.

- There is no statutory or constitutional provisions which would permit removal of an elector from the electors list on the ground that the elector is mentally retarded; in fact, under O.C.G.A. § 37-4-104, the contrary is true with respect to those mentally retarded electors receiving treatment. 1981 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 81-11.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

ALR.

- Treating of voters by candidate for office as violation of corrupt practices or similar act, 2 A.L.R. 402.

Constitutionality and construction of statutes providing for proportional representation, or other system of preferential voting, in public elections, 110 A.L.R. 1521, 123 A.L.R. 252.

"At-Large" elections as violation of § 2 of Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 USC § 1973), 92 A.L.R. Fed. 824.

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