The Georgia Supreme Court Tuesday rejected a challenge from an unsuccessful 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 results 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 challenge claiming 30 votes were improperly or irregularly cast. But the trial court judge ruled the evidence was insufficient 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 otherwise 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 resident 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 writes for Capitol Beat News Service


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