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Board of Elections statement on redistricting maps and candidate qualifying

"Statement on Redistricting Maps and Qualifying" Board of Elections seal imposed on county map
March 1, 2024


On Monday, March 4, 2024, the qualifying period will begin for candidates seeking to qualify for county and state races appearing on the May Primary and November General Election ballots. The Cobb County Board of Elections and Registration (“Cobb BOER”), as the superintendent of elections for Cobb County, does not directly handle the qualifying of candidates for partisan races. Instead, those candidates who wish to appear on a partisan primary ballot must qualify directly with their political party at its county office. (O.C.G.A. § 21-2-153). While Cobb BOER is not directly responsible for qualifying partisan candidates, parties and citizens have requested guidance from the Board as to which maps are to be used for qualifying at this time when multiple redistricting lawsuits are still pending in various stages of appeal.

The Congressional, State Senate, and State House redistricting maps adopted under the 2023 Remedial Congressional Plan on November 29, 2023, and signed into law on December 8, 2023, will be the maps implemented for those races. While there is a pending appeal challenging the Federal District Court’s approval of the Remedial Plan maps, there is currently no stay in place preventing the implementation of those maps.

The Cobb County School Board redistricting map adopted pursuant to SB 338, which was passed on January 29, 2024, and signed into law on January 30, 2024, will be the map implemented for those races. There is currently an appeal pending in the case of Finn v. Cobb County Board of Elections and Registration, but the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed the ruling in that case, and the new redistricting map passed by the State Legislature in January is not currently subject to any pending challenge.

As for the Cobb County Commission redistricting map, on January 8, 2024, the Cobb County Superior Court ruled in Floam v. Cobb County that the Home Rule resolution adopting the redistricting map passed by the Cobb County Commission in October 2022 (the “Home Rule Map”) was unconstitutional. The Court’s ruling effectively restored the map adopted by the State Legislature, which was in place for the 2022 election cycle (the “Legislative Map”). The Cobb County Attorney immediately appealed the Court’s ruling and asserted, among other claims, that the Home Rule Map remains in place because the Court’s ruling was stayed under the automatic supersedeas provision in OCGA § 5-6-46 (a) once the appeal was filed.

Multiple parties have requested the Georgia Supreme Court to determine whether a stay of the Court’s ruling is in effect due to the appeal, including the Cobb BOER. Such a ruling would have provided direction as to whether the Home Rule Map or the Legislative Map would be used during qualifying for the upcoming Cobb County Commission race. As of today, the Supreme Court has declined to make such a ruling, only stating in a January 26, 2024 Order that the Floams’ “request to lift the [stay] imposed by OCGA § 5-6-46 (a) is held in abeyance until further order of this Court.” The Supreme Court’s recent order of February 29, 2024, setting the matter for oral argument on April 17, 2024, did not address the stay issue despite a request from Cobb BOER to rule on this matter prior to qualifying. Accordingly, in consultation with its legal counsel, the Cobb BOER has determined that, out of an abundance of caution, the Home Rule Map should be used in qualifying candidates beginning March 4, 2024, for the upcoming Cobb Commission race. Cobb BOER remains ready to implement any further direction from the courts on this matter.