2021 Georgia Code
Title 21 - Elections
Chapter 2 - Elections and Primaries Generally
Article 2 - Supervisory Boards and Officers
Part 2 - Secretary of State
§ 21-2-50. Powers and Duties; Prohibition Against Serving in Fiduciary Capacity

Universal Citation: GA Code § 21-2-50 (2021)
  1. The Secretary of State shall exercise all the powers granted to the Secretary of State by this chapter and shall perform all the duties imposed by this chapter, which shall include the following:
    1. To determine the forms of nomination petitions, ballots, and other forms the Secretary of State is required to determine under this chapter;
    2. To receive registration statements from political parties and bodies and to determine their sufficiency prior to filing, in accordance with this chapter, and to settle any disputes concerning such statements;
    3. To receive and determine the sufficiency of nomination petitions of candidates filing notice of their candidacy with the Secretary of State in accordance with this chapter;
    4. To certify to the proper superintendent official lists of all the political party candidates who have been certified to the Secretary of State as qualified candidates for the succeeding primary and to certify to the proper superintendent official lists of all the candidates who have filed their notices of candidacy with the Secretary of State, both such certifications to be in substantially the form of the ballots to be used in the primary or election. The Secretary of State shall add to such form the language to be used in submitting any proposed constitutional amendment or other question to be voted upon at such election;
    5. To furnish to the proper superintendent all blank forms, including tally and return sheets, numbered lists of voters, cards of instructions, notices of penalties, instructions for marking ballots, tally sheets, precinct returns, recap sheets, consolidated returns, oaths of managers and clerks, oaths of assisted electors, voters certificates and binders, applications for absentee ballots, envelopes and instruction sheets for absentee ballots, and such other supplies as the Secretary of State shall deem necessary and advisable from time to time, for use in all elections and primaries. Such forms shall have printed thereon appropriate instructions for their use;
    6. To receive from the superintendent the returns of primaries and elections and to canvass and compute the votes cast for candidates and upon questions, as required by this chapter;
    7. To furnish upon request a certified copy of any document in the Secretary of State's custody by virtue of this chapter and to fix and charge a fee to cover the cost of furnishing same;
    8. To perform such other duties as may be prescribed by law;
    9. To determine and approve the form of ballots for use in special elections;
    10. To prepare and provide a notice to all candidates for federal or state office advising such candidates of such information, to include requirements of this chapter, as may, in the discretion of the Secretary of State, be conducive to the fair, legal, and orderly conduct of primaries and elections. A copy of such notice shall be provided to each superintendent for further distribution to candidates for county and militia district offices;
    11. To conduct training sessions at such places as the Secretary of State deems appropriate in each year, for the training of registrars and superintendents of elections;
    12. To prepare and publish, in the manner provided in this chapter, all notices and advertisements in connection with the conduct of elections which may be required by law;
    13. To prepare and furnish information for citizens on voter registration and voting;
    14. To maintain the official list of registered voters for this state and the list of inactive voters required by this chapter; and
    15. To develop, program, build, and review ballots for use by counties and municipalities on voting systems in use in the state.
  2. As the state's chief election official, the Secretary of State shall not serve in any fiduciary capacity for the campaign of any candidate whose election will be certified by the Secretary of State. Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit the Secretary of State from organizing and operating his or her own campaign for election to public office.

(Code 1933, § 34-301, enacted by Ga. L. 1964, Ex. Sess., p. 26, § 1; Ga. L. 1969, p. 329, § 3; Ga. L. 1970, p. 347, § 2; Ga. L. 1977, p. 1053, § 1; Ga. L. 1979, p. 955, § 1; Ga. L. 1983, p. 140, § 1; Ga. L. 1986, p. 382, § 1; Ga. L. 1994, p. 1443, § 1; Ga. L. 1998, p. 295, § 1; Ga. L. 2001, p. 240, § 2; Ga. L. 2003, p. 517, § 3; Ga. L. 2005, p. 253, § 6/HB 244; Ga. L. 2019, p. 7, § 2/HB 316.)

The 2019 amendment, effective April 2, 2019, deleted "direct recording electronic (DRE)" preceding "voting systems" in paragraph (a)(15).

Cross references.

- Making of election returns to Secretary of State, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. II, Sec. II, Para. I.

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 1994, p. 1443, § 28, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law without such approval [April 15, 1994] for the purpose of authorizing the Secretary of State to design and distribute such forms and materials and to develop, procure, and install such computer hardware and software as are required under the provisions of this Act and to exercise such administrative authority as such officer deems necessary and proper for the implementation of this Act. For all other purposes, this Act shall become effective January 1, 1995."

Law reviews.

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


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).

Secretary of State's office complied with its statutory duty under O.C.G.A. § 21-2-50 when it provided a potential candidate with instructions on the nomination petition process and all of the relevant Official Code sections and State Election Board Rules. Lewy v. Beazley, 270 Ga. 11, 507 S.E.2d 721 (1998).

No obligation to inform candidate of published case law.

- The Secretary of State's office was not obligated to inform a potential political candidate of published case law interpreting the Code sections pertaining to the nomination process, especially when such case law is easily discoverable through reasonable research. Lewy v. Beazley, 270 Ga. 11, 507 S.E.2d 721 (1998).


Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, opinions decided under former Code 1933, § 34-1904 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Removal of names from primary ballots not authorized.

- 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.

Certification of minor party and independent candidates.

- The Secretary of State is not required to certify as candidates for national and state offices at a regular election, the names of persons as nominees of a party that did not cast five percent of the votes in the last general election, or as independent candidates, unless the candidate shall file a petition signed by no less than five percent of the registered voters in the territory. 1945-47 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 238.

Names submitted following filing deadline.

- The Secretary of State may not direct that the name of a party nominee submitted to the Secretary of State after the filing deadline be placed on the general election ballot. 1945-47 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 246; 1945-47 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 248 (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-1904).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 25 Am. Jur. 2d, Elections, § 90 et seq. 72 Am. Jur. 2d, States, Territories, and Dependencies, § 65.


- 29 C.J.S., Elections, §§ 113 et seq., 148, 241 et seq., 261 et seq.

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