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Georgia Supreme Court Rules Against Election Challenge in Probate Judge Race

Georgia Supreme Court Rules Against Election Challenge in Probate Judge Race Dave Williams Bureau Chief Capitol Beat News Service The Georgia Supreme Court Tuesday rejected a challenge from an un successful candidate for a probate court judgeship in Long County. Bobby Harrison Smith lost the election to Teresa Odum in June of last year by just nine votes - 1,372 to 1,363 – according to re - sults certified by the Long County Board of Elections and Registration. A recount turned up a smattering of additional votes but the nine-vote margin remained. Smith filed a court chal - lenge claiming 30 votes were improperly or irregu larly cast. But the trial court judge ruled the evidence was insuvcient to cast doubt on the results of the election. “[T]he trial court noted that, of these technical flaws, only one was brought to the voter's attention and there was no evidence that the ballots were the result of undue influence or other - wise did not reflect the will of the voters," Justice Carla Wong McMillian wrote in Tuesday's Supreme Court opinion. In the end, Odum – the winner of the election – and the election board conceded that one voter was not a res- ident of Long County and, thus, should not have voted. The state Supreme Court went further, concluding that the evidence showed Smith had cast doubt on seven votes. However, that wasn't enough to overturn Odum's nine-vote margin of victory.

Dave Williams

Bureau Chief Capitol Beat News Service

The Georgia Supreme Court Tuesday rejected a challenge from an un successful candidate for a

probate court judgeship in Long County.

Bobby Harrison Smith lost the election to Teresa

Odum in June of last year by just nine votes – 1,372 to 1,363 – according to re – sults certified by the Long County Board of Elections and Registration. A recount turned up a smattering of additional votes but the nine-vote margin remained.

Smith filed a court chal – lenge claiming 30 votes were improperly or irregu larly cast. But the trial court

judge ruled the evidence was insuvcient to cast doubt on the results of the election.

“[T]he trial court noted that, of these technical flaws, only one was brought to the voter's attention and there was no evidence that

the ballots were the result of undue influence or other – wise did not reflect the will of the voters," Justice Carla Wong McMillian wrote in Tuesday's Supreme Court opinion.

In the end, Odum – the winner of the election – and the election board conceded that one voter was not a res-

ident of Long County and,

thus, should not have voted.

The state Supreme Court went further, concluding that

the evidence showed Smith

had cast doubt on seven votes. However, that wasn't enough to overturn Odum's nine-vote margin of victory.

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