Christian still on ballot after unanimous vote | News
Bibb County's civil court judge and chief magistrate, William Randall, tried to get his election challenger thrown off the ballot Wednesday, but the board of elections turned down his request.
The Macon-Bibb Board of Elections has voted unanimously to keep Emory Christian on the ballot. The subject was discussed during a special meeting early Wednesday afternoon.
Randall made a complaint, through the county attorney's office, about her application to qualify for the post -- officially titled "Civil Court Judge."
Christian wrote on the application that she was running for "Bibb County Chief Magistrate."
After going through Georgia law, Thomas Richardson, a Bibb County attorney, told the board Wednesday's that Christian's intention was clear.
After the meeting, Steve Allen, the board chair, explained that in Bibb County, the civil court judge also serves as Chief Magistrate.
"This office is often referred to as Chief Magistrate," Allen said on Wednesday, "We found out that even on the old website, the name of the office was Chief Magistrate."
Randall, a former state representative, has held the post for 14 years. He was also a state legislator for 25 years before taking the magistrate's job in 1999,
Christian says she's been a lawyer for 25 years. According to her announcement, Christian is a former Houston County prosecutor, and has worked as a justice advisor and mentor in Afghanistan for the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, U.S. Department of State Bureau.
Voting day is May 20th.
Early voting starts April 28th.
A Macon lawyer has qualified to run for the Bibb County civil & magistrate judge's job that William Randall has held for 14 years.
She is Emory Christian, who says she's been a lawyer for 25 years. According to her announcement, Christian is a former Houston County prosecutor, and has worked as a justice advisor and mentor in Afghanistan for the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, U.S. Department of State Bureau.
Randall, who was also a state legislator for 25 years before taking the magistrate's job in 1999, also qualified to run for re-election.
Randall would not comment on the complaint Wednesday, except to say he personally did not file it.
Christian also declined comment except to say that the board made the right decision.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Randall issued this statement:
It is unfortunate that Bibb County Board of Elections Superintendent Jeanetta Watson chose not to challenge the legitimacy of Ms. Emory Christian's candidacy. The determination that the incident in question was simply a matter of "nomenclature" clearly sets a dangerous precedence and is in contradiction of the law.
The law clearly provides that in order to assume the duties of Chief Magistrate in Bibb county, one must first be elected to the office of Civil Court Judge. According to Ms. Christian's qualifying documents, she did not indicate her intentions to be a candidate for the office of Civil Court Judge (see attached documents). I contend that her failure to do so indicates her lack of knowledge of our unique Civil and Magistrate system here in Bibb County. I believe that it is the responsibility of each candidate to specify with certainty the position for which he or she wishes to qualify.
The responsibility of the Board of Elections to ensure that the Declaration of Candidacy corresponds to those offices that are to be included on the official ballot. Further, it is not the responsibility of the Board of Elections or staff to correct or assume the intentions of any candidate. Only the information provided by each candidate on his or her official qualifying documents should be considered. To do otherwise, indicates that Board of Election officials and Ms. Watson are either unclear of their responsibilities or have chosen to ignore the law. In light of the Board's and Ms. Watson's recent history of operational deficiencies, correcting this situation could have been an opportunity for the Board and staff to restore the public trust and confidence in their ability to render fair, competent and impartial service to our community.
In 1983 the State of Georgia created the Magistrate court system, whereby each of the 159 counties in the State of Georgia would have a Chief Magistrate. At that time, Bibb and Richmond counties were the only counties that had established Civil Courts. According to OCGA 15-10-27, the Civil Court Judge in these two counties shall also serve as the Chief Magistrate of the county.
Ms. Emory Christian qualified to run for the position of Chief Magistrate of Bibb County. However, the Chief Magistrate is not an elected position as per OCGA 15-10-27. An election for Chief Magistrate has NEVER been included on a Bibb County ballot; rather, on every official ballot since 1983 only the position of Civil Court Judge has been included.