Monday, July 14, 2008

More Primary Stuff

The Atlanta Press Club has video of all the debate held over the weekend.

Check them out here: Atlanta Press Club Debates
Also Democratic PSC candidate Jim Powell whose residency had been challenged has been disqualified by Secretary of State Karen Handel. What makes the Powell case so unusual was an Administrative Law Judged had ruled Powell a legitimate resident of the PSC 4th.

Naturally, Democrats are far from happy about this twist.

The crux of the conflict is in the bowels off residency law OCGA 21-2-27:

Section 14 states: "The specific address in the county or municipality in which a person has declared a homestead exemption, if a homestead exemption has been claimed, shall be deemed the person's residence address".

But then Section 15 states: "For voter registration purposes, the board of registrars and, for candidacy residency purposes, the Secretary of State, election superintendent, or hearing officer may consider evidence of where the person receives significant mail such as personal bills and any other evidence that indicates where the person resides".

Powell currently has homestead in Cobb County but receives mail and spends a considerable amount of time in his future home of Towns County.

A reading of the Administrative Law Judge's decision shows he deemed the considerable evidence of Powell's time in Towns to overpower the requirement of section 14.

Handel in her overrule stood squarely on section 14 stating Powell could have easily transferred homestead earlier in order to meet the 12 month residency requirement.

Although this particular decision is rare, its kind is not. The bottom line is Handel's decision was probably flavored by partisanship but it is based on an interpretation of the law which is arguably correct. For a politician, being able to snooker opponents while the law stands firmly as a backstop is the ultimate gotcha. It is the way things work in the real world and both sides do it.

Already some are floating comparisons of Katherine Harris. Honestly, some horses need holding here. Handel may be partisan. But she ain't crazy and she ain't incompetent. And the PSC, no matter how dear, sure as hell isn't the President of the United States.

UPDATE: According to comments at Tondee's, a Fulton Superior Court judge has issued a stay and placed Powell back on the ballot. The betting window is now open! Step right up Democrats! I'm even willin to offer odds that Powell will eventually be disqualified.

Loaf has confirmation.

No comments: