2020 Georgia Code
Title 21 - Elections
Chapter 2 - Elections and Primaries Generally
Article 12 - Returns
§ 21-2-499. Duty of Secretary of State as to Tabulation, Computation, and Canvassing of Votes for State and Federal Officers; Certification of Presidential Electors by Governor

Universal Citation: GA Code § 21-2-499 (2020)
  1. Upon receiving the certified returns of any election from the various superintendents, the Secretary of State shall immediately proceed to tabulate, compute, and canvass the votes cast for all candidates described in subparagraph (a)(4)(A) of Code Section 21-2-497 and upon all questions voted for by the electors of more than one county and shall thereupon certify and file in his or her office the tabulation thereof. In the event an error is found in the certified returns presented to the Secretary of State or in the tabulation, computation, or canvassing of votes as described in this Code section, the Secretary of State shall notify the county submitting the incorrect returns and direct the county to correct and recertify such returns. Upon receipt by the Secretary of State of the corrected certified returns of the county, the Secretary of State shall issue a new certification of the results and shall file the same in his or her office.
  2. The Secretary of State shall also, upon receiving the certified returns for presidential electors, proceed to tabulate, compute, and canvass the votes cast for each slate of presidential electors and shall immediately lay them before the Governor. Not later than 5:00 P.M. on the seventeenth day following the date on which such election was conducted, the Secretary of State shall certify the votes cast for all candidates described in subparagraph (a)(4)(A) of Code Section 21-2-497 and upon all questions voted for by the electors of more than one county and shall no later than that same time lay the returns for presidential electors before the Governor. The Governor shall enumerate and ascertain the number of votes for each person so voted and shall certify the slates of presidential electors receiving the highest number of votes. The Governor shall certify the slates of presidential electors no later than 5:00 P.M. on the eighteenth day following the date on which such election was conducted. Notwithstanding the deadlines specified in this Code section, such times may be altered for just cause by an order of a judge of superior court of this state.
  3. The Secretary of State shall not count, tabulate, or publish the names of any write-in candidates for whom the notice of intention of candidacy has not been provided in compliance with Code Section 21-2-133.

(Code 1933, § 34-1510, enacted by Ga. L. 1964, Ex. Sess., p. 26, § 1; Ga. L. 1969, p. 292, § 1; Ga. L. 1970, p. 347, § 30; Ga. L. 1987, p. 997, § 3; Ga. L. 1995, p. 1027, § 14; Ga. L. 1998, p. 295, § 1; Ga. L. 2001, p. 269, § 26; Ga. L. 2003, p. 517, § 57; Ga. L. 2012, p. 995, § 39/SB 92; Ga. L. 2019, p. 7, § 43/HB 316.)

The 2019 amendment, effective April 2, 2019, in subsection (b), substituted "seventeenth" for "fourteenth" near the beginning of the second sentence, and substituted "eighteenth" for "fifteenth" in the middle of the fourth sentence.

Cross references.

- Duty of Secretary of State to destroy quadrennially all filed election returns of officials whose terms of office have expired, § 45-13-20(7).

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2019 amendment of this Code section, see 36 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 81 (2019). For note on the 2001 amendment of this Code section, see 18 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 96 (2001).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Certification of election returns.

- Trial court did not err in ruling that certification by a county board of elections and registration triggered the five-day filing period of O.C.G.A. § 21-2-524(a) because the five-day period of § 21-2-524(a) for filing a petition to contest the election results for a county office began to run when the county superintendent had officially consolidated and certified the returns for the particular office; because the Secretary of State only certifies election returns for federal and state offices, the sole election official specified in the Georgia Code as having responsibility for consolidation and certification of election results for other offices is the local superintendent. Broughton v. Douglas County Bd. of Elections, 286 Ga. 528, 690 S.E.2d 141 (2010).

Obligation of county to take additional corrective steps.

- O.C.G.A. §§ 21-2-419 and21-2-499 expressly anticipate the potential need for a county to take additional corrective steps and resubmit the county's vote tally to the Secretary of State after the Secretary's remission of the original certification with questions. Common Cause Georgia v. Kemp, 347 F. Supp. 3d 1270 (N.D. Ga. 2018).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 26 Am. Jur. 2d, Elections, § 372.

C.J.S.

- 29 C.J.S., Elections, § 417 et seq.

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