Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One More Time

Maybe if I put it in big letters it'll make a difference.

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.

5 comments:

Chris said...

Point conceded. If there was a way you could cancel your homestead then that would be good as well.

If Powell had showed up to qualify with no homestead exemption, registered to vote in Towns etc, would you think that was ok?

That's why the law is flexible.

Ulmont said...

"If there was a way you could cancel your homestead then that would be good as well."

Dunno about canceling your homestead, but 21-2-217(a)(4.1) and 21-2-217(a)(6) both say that if you move out of the county / municipality with the intent to establish a residence there, then you have lost your prior residence...

griftdrift said...

Here's a simple way to cancel homestead.

Sell the fucking house.

Scott said...

The crux here is that the GA Supreme Court has ruled that the homestead exemption alone does not establish residence (Dozier v. Baker). The use the definition of domicile and also look at a candidate's intent.

“Wherever
a form of ‘the word “reside” occurs either in the statutes or in the constitution
of Georgia with respect to voting, it should be construed to mean “domicile.”"
...
"Although domicile
is a mixed question of law and fact which is ordinarily for a jury where the
evidence is in conflict, domicile should be determined by the trial court as a
matter of law when the evidence establishes a plain and palpable case."
...
"Indeed, it appears
without dispute that Commissioner Baker has voted ten times in Clarke County
since registering there in 2003. Both his voter registration and actual voting in
Clarke County are particularly persuasive. Smiley v. Davenport, 139 Ga. App.
753, 758 (2) (229 SE2d 489) (1976). Other evidence that Commissioner
Baker’s domicile is in Clarke County includes his purchase of a home and
additional real property, payment of property tax and utilities, service on a
traverse jury, income tax returns, campaign disclosure reports, his qualifying
affidavit to run for re-election, receipt of personal and business mail, and church
attendance."

Full Dozier v. Baker Ruling

This case, it appears, has already gone to the Supreme Court as Handel's office misfiled in the Court of Appeals, who sent it directly to the SC. It goes to the SC since it is a Constitutional matter.

My guess is that the Supreme Court will not overturn a precedent that they set less than six months ago.

Sara said...

It's kinda disingenous to present Dozier v. Baker as determinative on this issue, since the two factual disputes are different in a critical way. Commissioner Baker had filed his homestead exemption in the district in which he was elected to the PSC, and the losing argument in that case was that other evidence of where he spent most of his time and got his mail established that he didn't *really* live there. The plaintiffs were attempting to use the other factors that may be used to determine domicile in order to overcome the presumption of domicile created by the homestead exemption in the proper district

In contrast in this case, nobody's denying that there's a lot of evidence Powell really does live in the district where he is seeking election, but he filed his homestead exemption in an entirely separate district and failed to change it prior to qualifying for office. He is trying to use the other evidence of domicile to overcome the presumption created by having homestead exemption in another district.

I think the Supreme Court could very easily distinguish the two cases and rule in the other direction on this basis alone.

Griftdrift and I argued about this like a month ago in the comments of another post, when I said the interpretation of the interplay between the two statutes was a pure question of law and could be sufficient basis for a trial judge to overrule Handel's decision if he or she was so inclined. However, Judge Shoob's order doesn't make it clear that this is the pure legal question on which she hung her ruling. That may be a problem for Powell on appeal, because the statute is also very clear that the findings of the SoS are entitled to great deference and her decision can only be overturned on very limited grounds. Shoob could've been more careful in making clear which of those limited grounds she was using as her basis for overturning Handel's decision.