FORT VALLEY, Ga. (AP) — A judge has put a middle Georgia mayoral candidate back on the ballot, ruling Jeffery Lundy had lived in Fort Valley long enough to seek office.
Local news outlets report Peach County Superior Court Judge Connie Williford last week reversed Lundy's disqualification by Fort Valley election officials.
Lemario Brown, a Fort Valley council member, had been left unopposed on the ballot after the city's election supervisor ruled Lundy hadn't lived in the city for the required 12 months. Incumbent Mayor Barbara Williams is not seeking a third term, instead running for the city's utility commission.
City election supervisor Scakajawea Wright disqualified Lundy after a Sept. 27 hearing. Williford found that Wright improperly enforced the 12 months from the August qualifying date. State law says candidates have to live in their districts for 12 months from the general election date, not the qualifying date. Williford found Lundy moved to Fort Valley in September 2020 and meets the one-year requirement if correctly calculated from the general election.
The ruling came after early-in person voting for the Nov. 2 election had already started.
“I would suspect that Mr. Lundy will contest the election results if he loses by more than the amount of votes that were cast before my order was entered,” Williford said.
Lundy’s name was placed on the ballot earlier, but signs were placed around polls saying he wasn't qualified.
Williford said she contacted the the Georgia Secretary of State’s office and said state officials will order Fort Valley election officials to remove the signs.