SOS investigating Clayton County School Board elections

The Secretary of State’s office is launching an investigation into the election of Clayton County School Board members. Here is the press release:

Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel opened an investigation Tuesday into the election of members of the Clayton County School Board immediately upon receiving a request from Governor Sonny Perdue. Governor Perdue asked Secretary Handel to investigate whether the elections complied with the law and to specifically address whether the Board members reside in their districts as required by law. The request stems from a report by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Committee which raised concerns about the Board members’ elections, among other issues. SACS has threatened to revoke Clayton County Schools’ accreditation if the concerns are not resolved.

“The public can be assured that my office’s Inspector General will conduct a thorough and expeditious investigation that addresses Governor Perdue’s and SACS’ concerns,” Secretary Handel said.

I wonder what exactly they are looking for.

12 comments

  1. debbie0040 says:

    Congrats to Karen. She does such a great job:

    Secretary of State Karen Handel Named Chair of Republican
    Secretaries of State Committee

    Alexandria, VA.—The Republican Secretaries of State Committee today announced that Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel will serve as its Honorary Chairman for the 2008-2009 term.

    The Committee is a subgroup of the Republican State Leadership Committee, whose mission is to elect Republicans in all fifty states to the offices of Secretary of State, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and in State Legislatures.

    “It is an honor to be named Honorary Chairman of the Republican Secretaries of State Committee,” said Secretary Handel. “I look forward to working with other Republican Secretaries of State to help elect principled conservative leaders to these important offices.”

    Currently, 21 Republican Secretaries of State serve their states by overseeing a range of responsibilities, often including elections oversight, archival services, securities and business services.

    Karen Handel was sworn in as Georgia Secretary of State in January 2007. The Georgia Secretary of State’s office offers important services to our citizens and our business community. Among the office’s wide-ranging responsibilities, the Secretary of State is charged with conducting efficient and secure elections, the registration of corporations, and the regulation of securities and professional license holders. The office also oversees the Georgia Archives and the Capitol Museum.

  2. CobbGOPer says:

    They’re investigating to see whether the board members actually lived in their districts when they were elected.

  3. Since when has that mattered? Rep. Roger Williams (D then R – Dalton) used the same address to qualify for office various times over a 20 year period. Then, after the 2004 court ordered redistricting it appeared he’d have to run against Rep. Ron Forster because both of their primary addresses were in the same new district.

    Not a problem for Williams, who simply claimed that he now lived at a new address in the newly created 4th district. One problem: that address (which he now claims to live at) was not in the district as drawn that he was elected to in 2002.

    You’d think that would be a pretty clear cut case for a judge – either he lives in the address in the new 4th district (which would retroactively disqualify him from serving in his current office at the time) or he lived in the old house and therefore couldn’t qualify for the new district, but the judge basically let him get away with whatever he wanted.

    Same thing (on multiple occasions) with Sen. Ralph Hudgens’s downtown Comer “apartment” compared with his rural Madison county estate that was actually in the old 46th district, not the 47th that he represented.

    In no way do I condone fudging one’s address to qualify for office in a district where they otherwise shouldn’t be able to qualify, I just think its interesting that the party which has more officeholders who are liberally domiciled has a newfound interest in getting to the bottom of this stuff.

  4. CobbGOPer says:

    Chris,

    I hear ya, I’m just saying that’s the premise of the investigations by SOS: that some of these board members were not residents of the districts they were elected to serve at the time they were elected.

    I think the best course of action down there would be for the citizens to recall the board members. They don’t need SOS investigations, they need to threaten these board members with eviction. Honestly, they don’t need to threaten: they need to go ahead and do it. A new board would be the best defence against getting their accreditation yanked.

  5. Harry: there is no requirement that a Congressman live in his district, just in the state. Two words for you: the Constitution.

    CobbGOPer: I think we basically agree, and perhaps this is a sign that Handel will enforce the law instead of worrying about stepping on toes of potential future political allies (like our previous secretary of state). Of course Handel is a Republican and Cox was a Democrat, but Cox essentially thought her base was Republicans, so I digress.

    I wonder if there will be any unintentional precedents that may haunt Republicans (or Democrats) who wish to qualify in a district of their choosing instead of their residing in the future.

  6. Chris says:

    Hardcore:

    I’m not excusing the aforementioned state reps who have stretched the boundaries of the law thinking they were immune (See: Richardson, Glenn), however last I check the State of Georgia isn’t facing revocation of its statehood.

    The mess that is Clayton County Schools needs to be addressed and one of the primary criticisms of the accreditation agency is the manner of elections of the School Board. The SoS’s office is just doing its role, for the children.

  7. Harry says:

    Hardcore:

    I know David Scott doesn’t legally have to live in his District rather than 17 miles from it, but shouldn’t he be investigated for campaign finance violations? Paying a large portion of his campaign funds to his wife and kids?

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