CONYERS — A controversy has struck the special election to fill the vacated Georgia Senate District 43 seat.
Angela Moore, one of the nine candidates for the State Senate District 43 office — which represents portions of Newton, Rockdale and DeKalb counties — has been disqualified by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. If the disqualification holds up, any votes cast for her will not be counted.
Moore said her attorney will file an appeal in Fulton County Superior Court to overturn the disqualification, and she may seek to void the election.
“I was not given due process. They violated my rights, and we are challenging it,” Moore said.
On Tuesday, Kemp’s office informed Cynthia Welch and Angela Mantle, board of elections directors for Newton and Rockdale counties, about the disqualification decision.
A DeKalb County resident, Moore was disqualified because her home is no longer located within the boundaries of District 43 as a result of its redistricting in 2010.
A Rockdale attorney, Regional Judge Advocate Jonna Gayle, is filing the appeal on Moore’s behalf.
According to Gayle and Moore, the state’s redistricting of District 43 was done illegally and not properly approved. Moore’s residence lies less than 1,600 feet outside of the new district boundary, she said, but she received no notice of that and subsequently voted for then-incumbent Ronald Ramsey in the 2012 District 43 election.
Moore noted that when she filed a notice of candidacy in August at the Secretary of State’s Atlanta office with her correct address, the department subsequently qualified her to run in the election. Moore said she and supporters have spent more than $30,000 on her campaign.
Another candidate filed a complaint with the Secretary of State on Oct. 16, alleging that Moore lives outside the district. The department sent a notice to Moore that a hearing on her qualification status would be held Tuesday morning before Judge Michael Malihi of the Office of State Administrative Hearings, an Atlanta office with the Secretary of State Department.
“I gave verbal notice that I would file a motion for a continuance,” Moore said.
Moore said she had became preoccupied with a family emergency — her father entered a hospital with a blocked artery, and on Monday the two were facing a decision on whether to authorize open-heart surgery.
On Monday afternoon, Gayle emailed the Office of State Administrative Hearings a motion for a continuance, requesting that the hearing before Malihi be rescheduled for Friday.
“They sent an email acknowledging receipt and said the motion had been filed,” Gayle said.
Moore and Gayle both said that neither were informed that the Tuesday hearing would proceed at 9 a.m.
“They challenged my residency in a hearing without informing me. I didn’t even know I was disqualified until I saw a notice at a polling place,” Moore said.
Along with other board of elections directors, Welch and Mantle received instructions from Kemp’s office on Tuesday afternoon.
“They sent us the language that has to be posted at each precinct and at the early voting location,” Welch said.
The notice posted by Mantle and Welch’s offices reads as follows:
“Notice of disqualified candidate: Notice is hereby given that Angela Moore (Nonpartisan), Candidate for Senate District 43, has been disqualified for the November 3, 2015, Special Election. Pursuant to O.C.G.A.