2021 Georgia Code
Title 21 - Elections
Chapter 2 - Elections and Primaries Generally
Article 2 - Supervisory Boards and Officers
Part 1 - State Election Board, County Board of Elections, and County Board of Elections and Registration
§ 21-2-31. Duties
It shall be the duty of the State Election Board:
- To promulgate rules and regulations so as to obtain uniformity in the practices and proceedings of superintendents, registrars, deputy registrars, poll officers, and other officials, as well as the legality and purity in all primaries and elections;
- To formulate, adopt, and promulgate such rules and regulations, consistent with law, as will be conducive to the fair, legal, and orderly conduct of primaries and elections; and, upon the adoption of each rule and regulation, the board shall promptly file certified copies thereof with the Secretary of State and each superintendent;
- To publish in print or electronically and furnish to primary and election officials, from time to time, a sufficient number of indexed copies of all primary and election laws and pertinent rules and regulations then in force;
- To publish in print or electronically and distribute such explanatory pamphlets regarding the interpretation and application of primary and election laws as in the opinion of the board should be distributed to the electorate;
- To investigate, or authorize the Secretary of State to investigate, when necessary or advisable the administration of primary and election laws and frauds and irregularities in primaries and elections and to report violations of the primary and election laws either to the Attorney General or the appropriate district attorney who shall be responsible for further investigation and prosecution. Nothing in this paragraph shall be so construed as to require any complaining party to request an investigation by the board before such party might proceed to seek any other remedy available to that party under this chapter or any other provision of law;
- To make such recommendations to the General Assembly as it may deem advisable relative to the conduct and administration of primaries and elections;
- To promulgate rules and regulations to define uniform and nondiscriminatory standards concerning what constitutes a vote and what will be counted as a vote for each category of voting system used in this state;
- To employ such assistants as may be necessary;
- Subject to funds being specifically appropriated by the General Assembly, to formulate and conduct a voter education program concerning voting procedures for voting by absentee ballot and at the polls with particular emphasis on the proper types of identification required for voting; and
- To take such other action, consistent with law, as the board may determine to be conducive to the fair, legal, and orderly conduct of primaries and elections.
(Ga. L. 1958, p. 269, § 45; Ga. L. 1959, p. 57, § 1; Code 1933, § 34-202, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 862, § 2; Ga. L. 1993, p. 118, § 1; Ga. L. 1993, p. 1670, § 1; Ga. L. 1998, p. 295, § 1; Ga. L. 2001, p. 230, § 2; Ga. L. 2003, p. 517, § 2; Ga. L. 2006, p. 3, § 1/SB 84; Ga. L. 2008, p. 781, § 2/HB 1112; Ga. L. 2010, p. 838, § 10/SB 388.)Law reviews.
- For article, "Local Government Law," see 53 Mercer L. Rev. 389 (2001). For article on 2006 amendment of this Code section, see 23 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 145 (2006). For note on the 2001 amendment to this Code section, see 18 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 114 (2001).
Board required to be aware of contest proceedings.
- The decision whether to intervene in election contest requires that the State Election Board be aware of the nature of the election contest proceedings, and of problems encountered in elections and election contests, in order that it may properly perform its duties under O.C.G.A. § 21-2-31. Lyde v. City of Brunswick, 241 Ga. 554, 246 S.E.2d 673 (1978).Standing of Secretary of State to object to request to view election records under Open Records Act.
- The Georgia Secretary of State had standing to object to a request under the Open Records Act for election records held by a county. Under O.C.G.A. §§ 21-2-30,21-2-31,21-2-32,21-2-50 et seq., and45-13-20 et seq., the Secretary was charged with the supervision of all elections in Georgia and thus had the right to seek judicial intervention. Smith v. DeKalb County, 288 Ga. App. 574, 654 S.E.2d 469 (2007), cert. denied, No. S08C0596, 2008 Ga. LEXIS 291 (Ga. 2008).Signature verification process.
- When plaintiff campaigns filed a complaint regarding Georgia's processing of absentee ballots for U.S. Senate runoff elections, the federal circuit court concluded that the campaigns failed to make a strong showing that the campaigns had standing to bring their constitutional claims because the campaigns failed to demonstrate that any alleged injury was traceable to, and redressable by, the state; other than being the chief election officer responsible for election laws, there was no allegation that the Georgia Secretary of State controlled the local supervisors or had control over the signature verification process. Ga. Republican Party, Inc. v. Sec'y of State for the Ga., F.3d (11th Cir. Dec. 20, 2020).
OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
No authority to remove names from primary ballots.
- Neither the State Election Board nor the Secretary of State has the authority to order candidates' names removed from primary ballots. 1974 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 74-96.Board may receive criminal record information.
- Since the State Election Board is empowered to investigate and enforce by civil actions, it would be entitled to receive criminal history record information in connection with any such investigation or litigation. 1975 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 75-144.Board's powers include powers of judge of probate court.
- Amendments to the Georgia Election Code after 1967 which confer additional responsibilities on the judge of probate court would confer those powers on the Board of Elections, absent a concurrent, contrary mandate by the General Assembly. 1975 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U75-88.
Am. Jur. 2d.
- 25 Am. Jur. 2d, Elections, §§ 7, 36, 93 et seq.C.J.S.
- 29 C.J.S., Elections, § 113 et seq.