A disqualified candidate is awaiting her day in court after appealing the county election board’s ruling she did not meet residency requirements to be Dallas’ mayor.
But Narda Konchel also must wait on selection of a judge to hear the case after all Paulding Superior Court judges recused themselves from hearing it, the court's administrator said.
Konchel on Sept. 20 filed her appeal in Superior Court and asked a judge to reverse the Paulding County Board of Elections’ ruling that she had not lived in the city for the required one year before she qualified to be a candidate for mayor on Aug. 19, 2019.
At a Sept. 11 hearing before the elections board, incumbent Mayor Boyd Austin challenged how long Konchel had lived in Dallas and said city law required a one-year residency to hold the office of mayor.
Konchel said she had resided in part of a Main Street commercial building for more than one year before her qualifying date. However, the elections board said she did not provide enough documentation to prove it.
All Paulding Superior Court judges recused themselves from hearing Konchel's appeal, court administrator Alyson Briant said.
Briant said she referred the case to the administrative office of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, of which Paulding is part.
Officials in the Seventh Judicial Circuit then will appoint another Superior Court judge, typically one who has taken senior status, to hear the case, Briant said.
Brandon Bowen, the attorney representing the Paulding elections board, said he plans to file an answer to Konchel’s request which will include a transcript of the Sept. 11 elections board hearing.
Georgia law states the judge in the case of an appeal “shall” consider only the record of the hearing at which she was disqualified.
The judge then may affirm the board’s decision or return the case to the board for another hearing, the law states.
If the judge affirms the board’s ruling, the candidate still could appeal to the state Court of Appeals or Supreme Court, the law states.
County Elections Supervisor Deidre Holden said Konchel’s name is still on the ballot for the city’s general election. The early voting period begins Oct. 14 and Election Day is Nov. 5.
Holden said Konchel will be on the ballot as a fully qualified candidate for mayor if a judge rules in her favor.
However, if she loses the appeal, Konchel’s name will remain on the ballot but any votes for her will not be counted, Holden said.
Konchel declined comment.