A disqualified Dallas mayor candidate is “seriously exploring” a last-minute appeal to the state Supreme Court to be returned as a full-fledged candidate in the city’s general election.
A judge this week affirmed the county election board’s decision to disqualify Narda Konchel from the Nov. 5 Dallas mayor’s election.
Konchel can appeal Superior Court Senior Judge Grant Brantley’s ruling to the state Supreme Court, said her attorney, Mason Rountree.
“We are seriously exploring filing an appeal,” Rountree said. “We will make a decision by Friday.”
Rountree said he would ask the Supreme Court to grant a discretionary appeal of Brantley’s ruling, which Rountree described as an “emergency type appeal.”
Early voting in the Dallas election is set to begin Monday, Oct. 14, before the Nov. 5 general election. Election officials said Konchel’s name is on the ballot but votes for her would not be counted unless she wins her appeal.
According to state Supreme Court rules, justices will hear the appeal if “reversible error appears to exist” in the lower court judge’s ruling.
Rountree said he respected Brantley’s decision but he believed the elections board made some legal errors in its hearing, such as being “inconsistent” in saying she was qualified to vote in the Nov. 5 election but not be a candidate on its ballot.
Brantley, a Cobb County senior judge, ruled the Paulding County Board of Elections’ Sept. 11 hearing was done lawfully and he will not alter its decision to disqualify Konchel as a candidate for not living in the city for the required amount of time to serve as mayor.
Mayor Boyd Austin had challenged Konchel’s assertion she met the city charter’s residency requirement of living in the city for one full year before qualifying as a candidate Aug. 19.
The elections board ruled after its Sept. 11 hearing that Konchel had not proven she had lived in Dallas for the required time. Konchel appealed the ruling to Paulding Superior Court and Brantley was appointed to hear the case after all Paulding judges recused themselves.
Brantley wrote in his order Monday, Oct. 7, that he affirmed the elections board’s decision after it had not made legal errors in its hearing.
“Having reviewed the record, the court finds that there is substantial evidence in the record supporting that decision, and it was not clearly erroneous,” Brantley wrote.
“The court cannot substitute its judgment for that of the board as to the weight of evidence or credibility of witnesses. The procedures followed by the board were consistent with the requirements within (state law) …” he wrote.