Judge Randall speaks out after board of elections allows opponent to remain in race

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Bibb County Civil Court Judge and Chief Magistrate William C. Randall is slamming the Macon-Bibb Board of Elections for allowing his opponent to remain in the race.

This comes after Randall filed a complaint with the board because his opponent, Emory Christian, qualified for a position that doesn’t exist on the ballot.

According to Christian’s qualifying paper work, she said she was running for the position of Chief Magistrate of Bibb County, but technically, you can’t run for that position.

Georgia law states that in order to assume the duties of the magistrate judge, someone must first be elected to the office of Civil Court Judge.

Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson for Randall’s campaign told 41NBC the Bibb County Board of Elections agreed to allow Christian to remain on the ballot despite the error in her paperwork.

Randall sent the following statement in response to that decision:

“It is unfortunate that Bibb County Board of Elections Superintendent Jeanetta Watson chose not to challenge the legitimacy of Ms. Emory Christian’s candidacy. The determination that the incident in question was simply a matter of “nomenclature” clearly sets a dangerous precedence and is in contradiction of the law.

The law clearly provides that in order to assume the duties of Chief Magistrate in Bibb county, one must first be elected to the office of Civil Court Judge. According to Ms. Christian’s qualifying documents, she did not indicate her intentions to be a candidate for the office of Civil Court Judge (see attached documents). I contend that her failure to do so indicates her lack of knowledge of our unique Civil and Magistrate system here in Bibb County. I believe that it is the responsibility of each candidate to specify with certainty the position for which he or she wishes to qualify.

The responsibility of the Board of Elections to ensure that the Declaration of Candidacy corresponds to those offices that are to be included on the official ballot. Further, it is not the responsibility of the Board of Elections or staff to correct or assume the intentions of any candidate. Only the information provided by each candidate on his or her official qualifying documents should be considered. To do otherwise, indicates that Board of Election officials and Ms. Watson are either unclear of their responsibilities or have chosen to ignore the law. In light of the Board’s and Ms. Watson’s recent history of operational deficiencies, correcting this situation could have been an opportunity for the Board and staff to restore the public trust and confidence in their ability to render fair, competent and impartial service to our community.

In 1983 the State of Georgia created the Magistrate court system, whereby each of the 159 counties in the State of Georgia would have a Chief Magistrate. At that time, Bibb and Richmond counties were the only counties that had established Civil Courts. According to OCGA 15-10-27, the Civil Court Judge in these two counties shall also serve as the Chief Magistrate of the county.

Ms. Emory Christian qualified to run for the position of Chief Magistrate of Bibb County. However, the Chief Magistrate is not an elected position as per OCGA 15-10-27. An election for Chief Magistrate has NEVER been included on a Bibb County ballot; rather, on every official ballot since 1983 only the position of Civil Court Judge has been included.”

41NBC also spoke with Christian on Wednesday evening. She said over the phone she had no further comment on the matter, except to say she believes the board of elections followed the law.

Categories: Bibb County, Elections, Local News

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