Houle hit with lawsuit after ruling puts him on Commission

Board of Elections also named in suit

Athens activist Jesse Houle says he has been served with a lawsuit challenging his right to take an Athens-Clarke County Commission seat in January: Houle was declared the winner three days after losing the June 9 election to District 6 incumbent Jerry NeSmith. The 71 year-old NeSmith died two days before winning the election.

From the Athens-Clarke Co government website…

In conjunction with the Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections, the Attorney’s Office has released a five-page memo sent to the Board of Elections on June 12, 2020 in regard to two questions related to the June 9, 2020 election for the Commission District Six seat.

The memo was prepared for the Board of Elections ahead of their upcoming meetings on June 16, 2020 and June 18, 2020 related to the June 9, 2020 election. The Board of Elections is scheduled to certify the results of the election at their June 18, 2020 meeting.

The memo provides research on case law, state code, and the Athens-Clarke County Charter on the question about votes cast for Jerry NeSmith in the June 9, 2020 election and on the question of a special election to fill the District Six Commission seat. Jerry NeSmith, the incumbent District Six Commissioner, passed away unexpectedly last weekend prior to the June 9, 2020 election.

Based on the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) and court decisions, the Attorney’s Office has concluded that all votes cast for Jerry NeSmith should be considered void. As a result, Jesse Houle, as the sole remaining candidate, should be declared elected to the Commission District Six seat.

Additionally, based on the Athens-Clarke County Charter, the Attorney’s Office has concluded that a special election should be held on November 3, 2020 to fill the remainder of the current term and would run from after the election until the swearing-in of the new District Six Commissioner in January 2021.

The full memo is available here.

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