Brooks’ attorney, Gary Bunch, filed the writ of certiorari, which moves for a judicial review of the unanimous decision of the Carroll County Board of Elections and Registration to remove her as a candidate for District 1.
Bunch also moved for an emergency, which, if approved by the court, would keep Brooks’ name on the ballot. Superior Court spokeswoman Staci Rogers said the hearing had not been set as of Friday afternoon, but that it would probably be heard by a circuit judge outside Carroll County, and that it would depend on his schedule.
Brooks said she knows everything will be all right.
“I don’t understand why bad things happen to good people,” Brooks said. “But we’ll be all right.”
Brooks was disqualified in a special hearing Tuesday after it was discovered her house is in a different district than the district she was running to represent. While the majority of Brooks’ Villa Rica property can be found in District 1, her home and street address are actually in District 3 because of a technical error.
Cynthia Daley, at the hearing Tuesday, said the “dot” symbolizing Brooks’ home was put in the wrong place: Brooks lives at 760 Bailey Brooks (formerly Reed) Road, but the dot was placed at 760 Edge Road by mistake.
“The school board would not have adopted the map if the map had removed any board member for the member’s district,” the writ reads. “And the Apportionment Office representative explicitly told Brooks that she was being kept in District 1.”
As for what happens until Brooks’ term runs out in December, school board Chairman Dr. Jon Anderson said the board has more questions than answers.
“This is uncharted territory for us,” Anderson said. “We’ve got a good handle on the questions, but not a lot of answers.”
Anderson said the board’s main question is whether Brooks is allowed to attend board meetings, depending on when the redistricted maps take effect.
“If they take effect after her term is over, then she’s fine, but if they take effect immediately, then what happens between now and then?” Anderson said.
Anderson said the board is waiting on legal advice before taking any kind of action.
Brooks’ writ lists several reasons why the Board of Elections’ decision should be reviewed. First, the writ argues that the board erred in ruling that Brooks resides outside District 1.
The writ cites Jordan v. Cook, a 2003 state Supreme Court case similar to Brooks’ case. Some of the incumbent’s property was within his district, but his house was in another district. The trial court found that the incumbent satisfied the residency requirements as a result of some of his property, other than his house, being located in that district, according to the writ.
“The intent in drawing the new district was to make sure no incumbent was legislated out of his district,” the Supreme Court’s ruling reads.
The writ also cites two cases that found that the conduct of elections should be “liberally interpreted so as to promote rather than defeat candidacy” (Slocum v. DeWitt). Also cited is 1991’s Dixon v. Hughes.
The second reason Brooks finds herself to be entitled to be a candidate is based on the spirit of the situation.
In the 1960 Georgia case New Amsterdam Cas. Co v. Freeland, the Georgia Supreme Court stated, “The meaning of general language may be restrained by the spirit or reason for the statute.”
The writ says the removal of Brooks as a candidate “would be an outrageous injustice” and would “undercut the integrity of the ballot.”
Brooks’ appeal argues that her removal “cannot meet constitutional standards.”
“Everyone in the process intended for Brooks to be in District 1. ... Therefore, to remove Brooks as a candidate for District 1 violates fundamental due process principles.”
This violation, the writ sets forth, would “injure not only Brooks but the voters who support her.”
In Bunch’s request for a stay, he writes that Brooks’ petition for a writ of certiorari does not itself stay the board’s decision.
“But the court has the authority to enter the requested stay,” the motion reads.
Bunch finds that Brooks has “good cause” for the stay request, based mainly on the intentions of everyone involved — to keep incumbents in their districts.
If the board’s decision is not stayed, “Brooks will suffer irreparable harm,” according to the request.
The motion also requests an expedited hearing on her petition for judicial review.
“Otherwise, Brooks arguably will be prevented from obtaining the relief to which she was entitled,” the motion reads.