Less than two weeks after the May 24 election, state House District 142 candidate Gerald Harvey has filed a petition contesting the vote.
Miriam Paris was declared the winner of the race, besting Harvey by 478 votes. A total 6,212 votes were cast.
In his petition, filed June 3 in Bibb County Superior Court, Harvey alleges there was no notice of James Frank Austin Jr.’s disqualification from the race at some Macon voting precincts.
The notice wasn’t prominently displayed at other precincts and stated Austin had “withdrawn” instead of that he’d been disqualified, according to the petition.
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A state judge ruled April 20 that Austin hadn’t lived in House District 142 for enough time to run for the seat vacated by Rep. Nikki Randall’s retirement from office.
Harvey has previously expressed concern about the 844 votes cast in the election for Austin, who was disqualified too late for ballots to be printed without his name.
"If who won didn’t win, I say let’s do the whole damn thing over again," Harvey said after the votes were tallied.
If who won didn’t win, I say let’s do the whole damn thing over again.
Gerald Harvey said after votes were tallied
Contacted Monday, Harvey’s lawyer, Fayetteville-attorney Wayne Kendall, said “the complaint pretty much says it all.”
The petition names Macon-Bibb Elections Supervisor Jeanetta Watson, the Board of Elections and Paris as respondents.
Reached for comment Monday, Paris declined comment. Watson declined comment and referred questions to an attorney representing her and the Elections board.
Soon after the election, Watson told The Telegraph signs had been posted at the county’s two early voting locations.
On the day after the election, she said she’d confirmed that signs had been posted at five of the eight precincts that included the race on the ballot.
Paris got 2,923 votes, or 54.5 percent. Harvey got 2,445 votes. Though disqualified, Austin received 844 votes.
In his petition, Harvey has requested that the election results be declared void and that Paris be prevented from taking office until after a judge can consider the issue.
He also requested that a judge call for a special run-off election, which would include him and Paris.
Paris was elected to the state Senate in a 2011 special election, but lost re-election in 2012.
Harvey unsuccessfully ran for state house in 2012 and 2014.
Paris and Harvey both have previously sat on the former Macon City Council.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.