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26 May 2012

Secretary of State Brian Kemp Should Challenge Vernon Jones' Residency

At the end of qualifying 2012, a familiar name to DeKalb County voters appeared on the list of candidates running for state House.

Vernon Jones, the former CEO of DeKalb County, placed his name on the ballot for state Representative from the 94th district.

Notice I did not say that Vernon Jones qualified for state House, because a cursory review of Jones' voter registration shows that it doesn't appear Jones' qualifies to serve in the General Assembly from district 94.

It doesn't appear that Vernon Jones meets the constitutional requirements to hold the office of state Representative from the 94th district.

Pictured left is Vernon Jones' record of registration from the Secretary of State's office.

Vernon Jones placed his name on the ballot in House District 94, but he is registered to vote in House District 91. Vernon Jones voted in House District 91 as recently as March 6, 2012.

Article III, Section II, Paragraph III(b) of the Constitution of the State of Georgia says that members of the House of Representatives shall have been legal residents of the territory embraced within the district from which elected for at least one year. This constitutional requirement is codified in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated.

O.C.G.A. § 28-2-1(b) reads:

"A member of the House of Representatives shall be a resident of the district which such member represents and at the time of such member's election shall have been a resident of the territory embraced within such district for at least one year preceding such time."

It appears, based on his voter registration record, that Vernon Jones does not meet the constitutional or statutory requirements to run for state Representative from the 94th district.

Georgia law allows the Secretary of State, upon his or her own motion, to challenge the qualifications of any candidate at any time prior to the election of such candidate [O.C.G.A. § 21-2-5(b)].

With absentee and early voting starting in a matter of weeks, it is imperative that Secretary of State Brian Kemp challenge Vernon Jones' qualifications before a single ballot is cast.

A vote for Vernon Jones is a wasted vote if Vernon Jones does not meet the basic residency requirements.

[Full Disclosure]: I received monetary compensation for work done in conjunction with Vernon Jones' 2008 U.S. Senate campaign.