Editor's note: The following article has been corrected from its original version. An address was incorrect in the original.
MOULTRIE, Ga. — Steven Reynolds’ run for City Council District 1 Post 1 ended Thursday after a Superior Court judge upheld his disqualification by city Election Superintendent Tina Coleman.
In early September, the husband of another candidate alleged Reynolds didn’t live in District 1. Coleman held a hearing Sept. 11 at which Reynolds failed to satisfy her that he lived where he said he did, 424 Third Ave. N.W., which is in the district. She announced his disqualification on Sept. 13.
Reynolds appealed Coleman’s decision Sept. 20, and Superior Court Senior Judge Joe Bishop heard the case on Thursday.
Bishop used three cases to analyze Reynolds’ situation: Haggard v. Graham, Dozier v. Baker and Cook v. Bd. Of Registrars.
According to the order, Dozier v. Baker “noted that evidence [of] a voter registration address and a record of voting 10 times since registering at that address were particularly persuasive.”
Reynolds’ voter registration since Nov. 5, 2002, has been 424 Third Ave. N.W.
The Dozier case “considered the purchase of a home, payment of property taxes and utilities, income tax returns, campaign disclosure reports, receipt of personal and business mail, etc.”
But Reynolds hadn’t purchased the home at 424 Third Ave. N.W. and presented no evidence of financial reports, tax returns, or residential mail for the address either, according to the order.
He did purchase a residence at 2424 Jacqueline Circle in 2013 and lived there until 2016. He also received a homestead exemption for the location from 2016 to 2019 and has five vehicles registered to it, the order read.
The Cook case looked at “the tacit or explicit intention to change one’s domicile before there was a legal change of residence,” by purchasing property, obtaining a driver’s license, applying for homestead exemption, registering vehicles and voting in a specific district.
Reynolds had voted in District 1 for 17 years. His driver’s license hadn’t reflected the Third Avenue address for at least a year, but he changed it to that address from a P.O. Box the morning of Coleman’s hearing.
The Haggard case called for evidence that Reynolds “received mail, kept food, clothing, household furnishings or tools” at 424 Third Avenue N.W., but no such evidence was found.
“Therefore based on the record, this Court affirms the Superintendent’s decision as Constitutional, within the authority of the Superintendent, made using lawful procedure, not affected by other error of law, based on reliable, probative and substantial evidence on the whole record and neither arbitrary, capricious, or an unwarranted exercise of discretion,” the order read.