Jesse Houle won the election for District 6 Commissioner, according to Athens-Clarke County Attorney Judd Drake in a statement issued today.
That’s because Houle was the only valid candidate on the ballot in Drake’s view.
Drake cites a decision of the Georgia Supreme Court, Jones, et al., v. Norris (1992), as precedent, which itself relied on O.C.G.A. § 21-2-438(a) as the relevant statute. This law declares that “[i]n elections, votes cast for candidates who have died, withdrawn, or been disqualified shall be void and shall not be counted.”
Therefore, Houle received 100% of the valid vote cast on June 9.
Drake acknowledges that “this conclusion leads to a harsh result for those individuals who voted for Mr. NeSmith in the election for District 6 Commissioner.” He says that although a challenge to O.C.G.A. § 21-2-504(a) may be likely, it would face a tough road due to the strong legal precedent of Jones v Norris.
Special Election Planned
A special election to fill the remainder of NeSmith’s term will be held in on Tuesday, November 3. The District 6 Commission seat will remain vacant until then. The winner of this election will have less than two months in office before Houle is sworn in for the next four years.