Georgia voters appeal decision on Rep. Greene’s eligibility

A group of voters who challenged U.S. Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene’s eligibility to run for reelection said Monday they have filed an appeal of the Georgia secretary of state’s decision that she can appear on the ballot.

The five voters from Greene’s district in March filed a complaint with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. They alleged that the Republican congresswoman played a significant role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol that disrupted Congress’ certification of Biden’s presidential victory. They argued that put her in violation of a seldom-invoked part of the 14th Amendment having to do with insurrection and makes her ineligible to run for reelection.

Georgia Administrative Law Judge Charles Beaudrot last month held a daylong hearing that included arguments from lawyers for the voters and for Greene, as well as extensive questioning of Greene herself. He then sent his decision to Raffensperger May 6.

Indiana has a pair of ties to the case, as Terre Haute attorney James Bopp Jr. represented Greene during the hearing and Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law professor Gerard Magliocca provided expert testimony on the 14th Amendment.

Beaudrot found that the voters hadn’t produced sufficient evidence to back their claims. Raffensperger affirmed that decision, writing that whether Greene’s political statements and actions disqualify her from office “is rightfully a question for the voters of Georgia’s 14th Congressional District.”

Under Georgia law, the voters are allowed to appeal that decision in Fulton County Superior Court.

The Georgia Supreme Court has held that the burden of establishing one’s eligibility to run for office is on the candidate, the appeal filed Monday says. Beaudrot erred by shifting that burden of proof to the challengers and thwarting the voters’ attempts to get evidence from Greene, the appeal argues, adding that Raffensperger’s decision was thus “made upon unlawful procedures and affected by other errors of law.”

The petition for judicial review that the voters said they filed Monday asks a judge to reverse Raffensperger’s decision and conclude that Greene isn’t qualified to be a congressional candidate or to vacate his decision and send the case back to Beaudrot for further proceedings.

The voters are represented by Free Speech for People, a national election and campaign finance reform group, which has filed similar challenges against lawmakers from Arizona and North Carolina.

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