MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon-Bibb County elections are no longer in limbo, now that a federal judge has ruled when voters can cast their ballot.
Candidate for Macon-Bibb County District 4 commissioner Mallory Jones filed the lawsuit against the supervisor of the Bibb County Board of Elections, the board, and the Bibb County Commissioners over the election delay last month.
"It was filed because there was a lack of an election. We were in a state of chaos. We didn't know what kind of election we were going to have. We didn't know when it was going to happen, and we're sitting six months before the start of a new government?" said Jones.
Jones says it wasn't a political move, but it was a move for the people.
"You regret having to do something like that. It's the first lawsuit I've ever filed in my life, but it needed to be done. We needed to have some order, and clarity to what we were going to have."
Middle Georgia federal Judge C. Ashley Royal filed the consent order Tuesday afternoon. In the legal document, Jones' attorney, A. Lee Parks, and the plaintiff's lawyer, Bibb County attorney Virgil Adams, agreed to the following:
The ruling orders that elections will be held on September 17. The run-off is scheduled for October 15.
Any candidates who already qualified and wish to remain in the race do not need to re-qualify. If a candidate wants to withdraw, he or she must notify the board of elections by July 17 at 12 p.m. Qualifying will be held from July 22 through July 24 at 12 p.m.
Voter registration ends on August 19th. Early voting is scheduled for Monday, August 26 through Friday, September 13.
Jones says he's relieved to have an election, and the dates set in stone.
"February 18th, Virigil Adams, the county attorney submitted this to the Department of Justice," said Jones (in reference to the election law change).
Nearly five months later, Jones says it's about time the law is being treated as the law.
"The judge validated Georgia law, that's exactly what we wanted him to do," said Jones.
Also in the consent order, it says candidates who already qualified will not have to re-qualify. Anyone who wants to drop out of the race and get their money back must do so by noon on Wednesday, July 17.