September 19, 2018 2:01 PM
Alternative Title: Election’HD28 II: Electric Boogaloo
Yesterday evening, Senior Judge David Sweat found there was enough evidence to warrant a new election for House District 28 based on voting irregularities in last May’s primary election in Habersham County. In the primary, incumbent Representative Dan Gasaway was defeated by Chris Erwin by a total of 67 votes. A lawsuit was filed challenging the election after Representative Gasaway obtained more than 80 signatures under oath indicating they had received the wrong ballot and not allowed to vote in the HD 28 race.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the Habersham County Election Superintendent testified there were 450 registered voters assigned to the wrong House District in Habersham County during the May election. Based on those figures, she concluded 70 Republican ballots were cast in the wrong House District. This figure was supported by the findings of a witness who runs a political data firm. Because the margin of victory was only 67 votes, the Court concluded there was sufficient evidence to set the results of the election aside and order a new election.
The question remains as to when the new election will be held. Gasaway and his attorney Jake Evans are seeking to have the election added to the General Election ballot in November. Erwin and his attorney Bryan Tyson would prefer a December primary and January election.
The timing of the new primary will likely be a significant issue. Kick out the wrong ballots and the race was still setup to be a squeaker for the winner with a small margin of victory. Obviously turnout on November 6th will be significantly higher than a December primary, but who will those increased numbers benefit?