2020 Georgia Code
Title 21 - Elections
Chapter 2 - Elections and Primaries Generally


Cross references.

- Referendum for ratification or rejection of annexation resolution, § 36-36-58.

Elections relating to incurring of bonded debt by counties, municipalities, or other political subdivisions, § 36-82-1 et seq.

Special election for filing of vacancies in office of district attorney, § 45-5-3.2.

Administrative Rules and Regulations.

- Registration of electors, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, State Election Board, Chapter 183-1-6.

Election districts and polling places, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, State Election Board, Chapter 183-1-7.

Certification of voting systems, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Office of Secretary of State Elections Division, Chapter 590-8-1.

Help America Vote Act of 2002 Provisions, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Office of Secretary of State Elections Division, Chapter 590-8-2.

Law reviews.

- For article discussing the evolution of municipal annexation law in Georgia in light of Plantation Pipe Line Co. v. City of Bremen, 227 Ga. 1, 178 S.E.2d 868 (1970), see 5 Ga. L. Rev. 499 (1971). For article, "Election Emergencies: Voting in the Wake of Natural Disasters and Terrorist Attacks," see 67 Emory L. J. 545 (2018).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1933, § 34-101 et seq., former Code 1933, § 34-1514 and former Title 21, Chapter 3 are included in the annotations for this chapter.

Federal Constitution protects right of all qualified citizens to vote, in state as well as in federal elections. Duncan v. Poythress, 657 F.2d 691 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. dismissed, 459 U.S. 1012, 103 S. Ct. 368, 74 L. Ed. 2d 504 (1982) (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-1514).

Federal Constitution protects right of all qualified citizens to vote, in state as well as in federal elections. Duncan v. Poythress, 657 F.2d 691 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. dismissed, 459 U.S. 1012, 103 S. Ct. 368, 74 L. Ed. 2d 504 (1982) (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-1514).

Election administration is federally protected, although generally a state concern.

- The administration of elections is generally a matter of state concern, but United States Supreme Court decisions leave no room for doubt that voting rights are, at bottom, federally protected. Duncan v. Poythress, 657 F.2d 691 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. dismissed, 459 U.S. 1012, 103 S. Ct. 368, 74 L. Ed. 2d 504 (1982) (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-1514).

Fundamental liberties must not be obstructed by election practices.

- The "liberty" protected from state impairment by the due process clause of U.S. Const., amend. 14 includes the freedoms of speech and association guaranteed by U.S. Const., amend. 1. These freedoms under U.S. Const., amend. 1 extend to political activities such as running for elective office. State election practices must therefore serve legitimate state interest narrowly and fairly to avoid obstructing and diluting these fundamental liberties. Duncan v. Poythress, 657 F.2d 691 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. dismissed, 459 U.S. 1012, 103 S. Ct. 368, 74 L. Ed. 2d 504 (1982) (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-1514).

Voting restrictions strike at heart of representative government.

- The right to vote freely for the candidate of one's choice is the essence of a democratic society, and any restrictions on that right strike at the heart of representative government. Duncan v. Poythress, 657 F.2d 691 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. dismissed, 459 U.S. 1012, 103 S. Ct. 368, 74 L. Ed. 2d 504 (1982) (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-1514).

Infringement of right to suffrage carefully scrutinized.

- Undoubtedly, the right of suffrage is a fundamental matter in a free and democratic society. Especially since the right to exercise the franchise in a free and unimpaired manner is preservative of other basic civil rights, any alleged infringement of the right of citizens to vote must be carefully and meticulously scrutinized. Duncan v. Poythress, 657 F.2d 691 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. dismissed, 459 U.S. 1012, 103 S. Ct. 368, 74 L. Ed. 2d 504 (1982) (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-1514).

Right to have votes counted.

- Qualified citizens not only have a constitutionally protected right to vote, but also the right to have their votes counted, a right which can neither be denied outright, nor destroyed by alteration of ballots, nor diluted by ballot box stuffing. Duncan v. Poythress, 657 F.2d 691 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. dismissed, 459 U.S. 1012, 103 S. Ct. 368, 74 L. Ed. 2d 504 (1982) (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-1514).

Other rights illusory if right to vote undermined.

- No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which we, as good citizens, must live. Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined. Duncan v. Poythress, 657 F.2d 691 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. dismissed, 459 U.S. 1012, 103 S. Ct. 368, 74 L. Ed. 2d 504 (1982) (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-1514).

Illegal votes ground for contesting municipal election.

- Although the Georgia Election Code is not applicable by its terms to municipal elections under former Code 1933, § 34-102 (see now O.C.G.A. § 21-2-15), in the absence of any statutory grounds for contest in former chapter 3, the ground for contest in former Code 1933, § 34-1703 (see now O.C.G.A. § 21-2-522(3)) is a good ground of contest in a municipal election. Davidson v. Bryan, 242 Ga. 282, 248 S.E.2d 657 (1978) (decided under former Code 1933).

Ga. L. 1964, Ex. Sess., p. 26 is a comprehensive law designed to regulate all elections in the state except municipal elections, and repeals any provision inconsistent with it. League of Women Voters v. Board of Elections, 237 Ga. 40, 227 S.E.2d 225 (1976) (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-101 et seq.)

Ga. L. 1964, Ex. Sess., p. 26, being a general comprehensive reorganization of election law, must control in elections legalizing alcoholic beverages. Buttrill v. Thomas, 126 Ga. App. 498, 191 S.E.2d 119 (1972) (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-101 et seq.)

Cited in Grogan v. Paulding County Democratic Executive Comm., 246 Ga. 206, 269 S.E.2d 467 (1980); McCreary v. Martin, 281 Ga. 668, 642 S.E.2d 80 (2007).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Ordinary (now judge of the probate court) should conduct election for justice of the peace (now magistrate) and should certify the returns to the Secretary of State. 1967 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 67-125 (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-1508).

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