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06 July 2012

House Candidate Claims Opponent May Have Committed Perjury on Qualifying Affidavit

Democrat Linda Pritchett, one of three candidates competing for a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives from the newly-created 63rd district, continues to raise questions about the qualifications of her opponent, Ronnie Mabra.

In a challenge filed June 6, 2012, Pritchett says Ronnie Mabra, also a Democrat, does not meet all the constitutional and statutory qualifications to seek and hold the office of state Representative from the 63rd district.

A review of the Declaration of Candidacy and Affidavit filed by Ronnie Mabra (pictured right) when he qualified as a candidate for state Representative shows that Mabra claimed to "have been a legal resident of Fayette County for 30 consecutive years."

However, records on file with the Fulton County Tax Commissioner's office say that Ronnie Mabra claimed homestead exemption, as recently as 2011, on a midtown condo bearing the address 361 17th Street, Unit 1306, Atlanta, Georgia, 30363 (pictured left). Mabra maintained homestead exemption on this midtown location every year from 2006 to 2011.

Georgia law states that in determining the residence of a person desiring to register to vote or to qualify to run for elective office, fifteen rules shall be followed [O.C.G.A. § 21-2-217]. One of those rules reads:

"The specific address in the county or municipality in which a person has declared a homestead exemption, if a homestead exemption has been claimed, shall be deemed the person's residence address."

Writing in an email, Linda Pritchett said Mabra testified at a July 3rd residency hearing before Administrative Law Judge Stephanie Howells that he "actually lived in Fulton County for approximately five years."

"Ronald [Mabra] signed a Candidate Declaration Affidavit form," Pritchett emailed. "The form was signed under the penalty of perjury. He admitted that the information of the form was incorrect which makes the form invalid and him ineligible to be a candidate."

Judge Howells is reviewing the evidence and testimony presented at the Mabra residency hearing, and will issue a recommendation to Secretary of State Brian Kemp on whether Ronnie Mabra will remain on the July 31st Democratic primary ballot.