Trouble Sighted in the Branch
My friend, Off Sides, was nice enough to add my e-mail address to one of his articles, so I guess that I get to take credit for all tips generated.
So here is an interesting tip received from someone called the “Dukes of Hall County” concerning the city council race in Flowery Branch and a question if a certain candidate is really qualified. The information received claims that Damon Gibbs, running for Post 1, is not a qualified candidate. Section 2.2 of the city charter says:
“No person shall be eligible to serve as mayor or council member unless he shall have been a resident of the city for at least one year prior to the date of the election of mayor or members of the city council; each shall continue to reside therein during his period of service; and shall be registered and qualified to vote in municipal elections of the city.”
So, there are 3 items that you have to do to qualify for the office: 1- be a resident for more than a year, continue to reside in the city, and be registered and qualified to vote in the municipal elections of the city. I checked GIS and it appears that Dr. Gibbs purchased his Flowery Branch home on Jan. 15, 2010. That would put him at almost two years and we can’t see that it was not continuous. What is in question, however, is if he is registered to vote in the municipal elections.
What you may not know, is that when you go to the polls, while your ballot is private, the fact that you are there voting is an open record. So for those of you who get all those annoying robo calls during election time, it is because you vote.
This open record shows all the registered voters in the November 2010 special election (for Mayor and for Post 4) and the people that voted in the election. Damon Gibbs is not shown as a registered voter in the city. It doesn’t surprise me that he didn’t vote because not a lot of people vote in special elections. In fact, in looking at the September special election for Flowery Branch post 1, there is no mention of Damon Gibbs showing up to vote their either. I guess that he wants to be a city councilmember, but never cared enough to vote in the past.
The next open record shows everyone that has been registered in the city since 2010. There is no mention of Damon Gibbs.
So what this all means is that Damon Gibbs appears to not have been qualified to vote in the city elections last year, and it appears that Damon has not added himself to the voter rolls this year. If he is not “qualified to vote in municipal elections of the city”, then he is not qualified to hold the office.
I have a friend in the business and I asked him to take a look at his database. He informed me that there is an Aubrey Damon Gibbs that matches the same age, but he appears to be registered at GRAND REUNION DR, HOSCHTON, GA in the Friendship I precinct. The consultant, however, does have Damon’s correct address in his database, LEMON GRASS LN, FLOWERY BRANCH, GA. What is funny that it appears he will not be able to vote for himself when he goes to the polls.
So, how does this happen? How is it that the city lets a person qualify and get on the ballot while not being qualified per their charter? Perhaps it was the loss of their former city clerk, perhaps it was just a simple oversight. No matter the cause, the city is in a crisis. What happens if someone is elected that wasn’t properly qualified? Does it mean that every vote they take on council could be challenged in court? Does this open the city up to a whole new round of litigation?
What I do know is that it is never good when courts have to decide the winner of an election. Let’s hope this one works itself out soon.