In Quest for Ballot Access, Libertarian Candidate Gets Monday Hearing

August 22, 2014 12:55 pm

by Jon Richards · 2 comments

Jeff Amason hopes to be on the ballot as a Libertarian in Georgia House District 21, which includes western Cherokee County. He is challenging the Republican incumbent, Scot Turner of Holly Springs. In July, Amason submitted a ballot petition with more than five percent of the district’s voters, as required by law.

The Secretary of State’s office certified Amason had more then the required 1,614 signatures, but ruled that most of them were invalid because most of the pages holding voters’ signatures were notarized by Amason’s wife, Andrea. A Georgia law requires signature petitions cannot be notarized by someone who circulates or signs them.

Citing a separate law that appears to conflict with the one used to disqualify Amason, the campaign is appealing the Secretary of State’s decision, and a Fulton County Superior Court judge will hear arguments on the case Monday morning. The Fulton Daily Report picks up on the story:

Amason, an attorney, and Jaffe & Haug associate James Grant filed a July 28 mandamus action against Ford. They argued that the law she cited conflicts with another state law allowing notaries employed by companies and banks to notarize documents for clients and customers, “recognizing that notaries are public officers and their public duty is superior to any private duty to the corporation.”

Andrea Amason, the complaint said, is an officer of his campaign committee, Amason for Liberty Inc., and should thus have been permitted to notarize the petitions. She did not notarize the sheets she circulated and signed, Amason said.

“If the court does not recognize the broad statutory authority for corporate notaries as in this case, precedent will be set that will critically weaken the corporate notary statute relied upon for almost a century in Georgia,” said Amason in a written statement. “All corporations in Georgia, including mortgage, financial institutions and banks will be severely impacted.”

A decision on the case will need to be made quickly. Ballots for the November Election must go to the printer on Friday, August 29th at noon.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

JayJacket August 22, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Lawyers, what’s that rule of statutory construction – the specific prevails over the general? I.e the specific elections notary rule trumps the general rule authorizing notarization?

bkeahl August 23, 2014 at 10:53 am

I think we should lean towards ballot access in a case like this. The law is the law, and if it is unambiguous then fine. But if it is debatable we’d be better served by not defaulting to denying access. I look forward to the legal eagles answering your question JayJacket.