Bar Rules

Standing Executive Committee Policy 1000 (State Bar of Georgia Elections)

Organization of the State Bar & Admissions / Standing Executive Committee Policy 1000 (State Bar of Georgia Elections)

Active members of the State Bar of Georgia are encouraged to run for a number of important leadership positions, including officers (President-Elect, Secretary and Treasurer), Executive Committee at large members, Board of Governors members elected by judicial circuit and ABA delegates.

 As a supplement to the applicable Rules, Bylaws and other provisions listed below in paragraph (j), this policy is designed to:

1. Assist members who wish to offer as candidates with information about the election process;
2. Assist voters by providing to them a reasonable amount of information furnished by candidates in contested races; and
3. Afford all candidates a fair and equal election process.

(a) Election Schedule For All Leadership Positions. Pursuant to Article VII, Section 14, of the State Bar Bylaws, the Elections Committee will prepare an Election Schedule with appropriate time lines and dates for review and approval by the Board of Governors. 

(b) Campaigning For All Leadership Positions in Contested Races.

1. Professionalism. Candidates are encouraged to conduct positive campaigns and to refrain from sending negative, false or misleading information of any kind.
2. State Bar Trademarks. The State Bar and YLD logos are registered trademarks of the State Bar of Georgia.  Any use of these trademarks without the prior written consent of the State Bar of Georgia is strictly prohibited.  All candidates for office with the State Bar and the YLD must refrain from incorporating these logos or any similar likeness, Bar letterhead, Bar images or any language that might imply an endorsement, into campaign materials.
3. State Bar Website. Pursuant to the approved Election Schedule ((a) above), the State Bar will provide each candidate a page on the State Bar website.  The candidate page will contain the candidate’s biography, candidate message, and photo, as described below. No hyperlinks will be allowed on the State Bar created page for candidates except as provided in 4.b below.  Each candidate’s information will remain on the State Bar website throughout the election.  Changes submitted after the deadline established for receipt of this information will not be accepted, and no date extensions for submitting the form will be granted for any reason.

a. Biography and Candidate Message Form. The Biography and Candidate Message Form affords an opportunity for candidates to further state qualifications and to better inform voters.  Candidates wishing to submit a Biography and Candidate Message Form must provide it in the electronic format supplied by the Bar.  Only the Biography and Candidate Message Form submitted via this method will be accepted.  Candidates will be advised how to obtain the electronic fillable form at the time they are notified of the contested race. The candidate also will be supplied with the deadline date for submission of the form at that time.  Forms received after the designated deadline date will not be published on the State Bar website.

There will be no additions, deletions or changes done to the electronic form by the candidate once the form is received by the State Bar.  The Elections Committee retains the right to decline to distribute any Biography or Candidate Message Form which is false, misleading, offensive or arguably illegal.

b. Photo. Each candidate may provide a headshot that will be included on the candidate page on the State Bar’s website.

4. State Bar E-mail.

a. Board of Governors Elections. The State Bar will distribute one e-mail per race per circuit to the eligible voters in the candidates’ circuit, which will contain the name of each candidate within that circuit with a link to his or her candidate page on the State Bar’s website.

b. Statewide Elections. The State Bar will distribute one e-mail per race to all eligible voters, which will contain the name of each candidate with a link to the candidate’s page on the State Bar’s website. In addition, each candidate in a contested statewide race may send 2 emails to all eligible voters.  The emails can be a letter of any length and may include hyperlinks if desired. The letters will be included in the body of the email and will be sent through the State Bar e-mail system following the guidelines in Standing Executive Committee Policy 500.

Candidates are free to send additional e-mails on their own, but e-mail addresses of voting members will not be provided as a list in electronic form or any other form by the State Bar, in accordance with Standing Executive Committee Policy 500.  Such campaign messages must state that the e-mail is coming directly from the candidate and not from the State Bar and that the recipient’s e-mail address was not provided in electronic or any other form to the candidate by the State Bar.  E-mail addresses for many State Bar members are publicly available through the printed and online directory at www.gabar.org.

All e-mails of this type must include the following language:

This e-mail is being sent directly by (Candidate) (or by ______ on behalf of and authorized by candidate) and not from the State Bar of Georgia.  E-mail addresses were not provided in electronic or any other form to the candidate by the State Bar of Georgia for this purpose.  E-mail addresses for many State Bar members are publicly available through the printed and online directory at www.gabar.org.

5. Mailing. A candidate may, upon request, receive one free set of printed or electronic mailing labels for the eligible voters in that candidate’s race for a single mailing in that year’s election only.  Additional sets may be purchased by contacting the State Bar’s Membership Department.  A nominal fee will be charged for additional sets.  Candidates will be provided with the most current number of active members in their circuit to budget accordingly.  A candidate may not copy the printed labels provided, or the information contained on them, and must delete the electronic file after the single use provided herein.  None of the information contained on the labels or in the file may be used at any other time or for any other purpose except as provided in this section.

(c) Board of Governors Nominating Petitions.  In accordance with the State Bar of Georgia Bylaws, Article VII, Sections 2 and 4, all candidates, including incumbents and non-incumbents, for circuit and out-of-state posts on the Board of Governors, are required to submit petitions of nomination.  Each candidate’s petition must be signed by a minimum number of active members of the State Bar from the circuit in which the candidate’s address as registered with the State Bar of Georgia under Rule 1-205 is located.  The minimum number of signatures varies by circuit size as follows:

1. three signatures from a circuit having less than twenty-five members;
2. seven signatures from a circuit having more than twenty-four but less than one hundred members;
3. twenty signatures from a circuit having more than ninety-nine members; or
4. five active non-resident signatures for candidates for out-of-state posts.

In no case will nominating petition forms or other election materials be sent to a candidate prior to the date designated for such distribution on the approved election schedule.  The dated nominating petition form for a given election must be used.  Undated forms or dated forms from prior years may not be used.  Petitions on incorrect forms will be rejected and may be returned to the candidate.

Caution: Candidates are strongly encouraged to submit more than the required minimum number of signatures to compensate for any signatories who either are not active members or whose official address with the State Bar is not in the circuit of the candidate running for the Board of Governors post.  Early submission (approximately one week before deadline) is advised to allow the candidate time to obtain additional signatures, if necessary, before the deadline.  Failure to timely submit a petition with the required number of eligible signatures will result in that candidate’s exclusion from the ballot.

Regardless of the method of submission, all nominating petitions must be received at the Atlanta headquarters of the State Bar of Georgia no later than 11:59 p.m. on the appropriate deadline date, which is different for incumbent and non-incumbent candidates.  Candidates may submit nominating petitions via U.S. Postal Service, private sector delivery service, hand delivery, facsimile or e-mail.  Time receipt stamps on e-mails and facsimiles will determine if they were received prior to the deadline. Extensions of time may not be granted for any reason.  If original petitions are not submitted, then it is the responsibility of the candidate to maintain the original petition for thirty days past the date when results for that election are certified and announced.  Failure to provide the original petition at the request of the Elections Committee may result in the disqualification of the candidate, at the discretion of the Elections Committee.

The Election Schedule will establish the deadline date for nominating petitions to be submitted by incumbent candidates and a second deadline for petitions to be submitted by non-incumbent candidates.  If an incumbent’s valid petition is not received at the Atlanta headquarters of the State Bar of Georgia by 11:59 p.m. of the deadline date, that candidate will no longer be considered an incumbent.  He or she may run as a non-incumbent and submit the nominating petition by the date established on the approved Election Schedule for non-incumbent candidates.  In such a case, the incumbent will not be listed as an incumbent on the official election ballot.

If a non-incumbent’s valid petition is not received at the Atlanta headquarters of the State Bar of Georgia by 11:59 p.m. of the deadline date, that candidate will not be listed on the ballot, but may run as a write-in candidate.

(d) Board of Governors Circuit/Post Vacancies.  As soon as practicable after the deadline for receipt of incumbent nominating petitions has passed, a list of all expiring Board of Governors terms with the name of the incumbent if they have qualified will be e-mailed to all eligible voters in the Bar.  All Circuit/Posts with no candidate will be shown as having a vacancy.  In this email, there will also be detailed information instructing members on how to obtain a nominating petition, qualifications to become a candidate for a Board of Governors seat and appropriate election deadlines.  The same information will be included on the State Bar website.

Candidates may seek election to only one post within their circuit in a given election cycle, but may withdraw and re-qualify for a different post prior to the qualification deadline by submitting a new petition.  During the nomination period, the State Bar will disclose only the names of properly qualified candidates.  Other information, including the number or identities of members who have requested or filed petitions, or the names of signatories on petitions, will not be disclosed.

(e) Ballots.

1. Board of Governors Candidates.  Candidates will be listed on the ballot in alphabetical order by last name.  Candidates’ names will appear on the ballot as they appear in the Bar membership record.  If candidates wish to add a nickname, it will be noted in quotations, along with their official name. Candidates will indicate on their nominating petition forms if they wish to include a nickname on the ballot.  Incumbent candidates who submit their nominating petitions prior to the deadline for incumbents will be designated on the ballot with either the word “(Incumbent)” or “(I).” See item (c) Board of Governors Nominating Petitions.
2. Statewide Elections.  Candidates will be listed on the ballot in alphabetical order by last name under the heading of the office they are seeking. Candidates’ names will appear on the ballot as they appear in the Bar membership record.  If candidates wish to add a nickname, it will be noted in quotations, along with their official name.  Incumbent candidates will be designated on the ballot with either the word “(Incumbent)” or “(I).”

(f) Voting. Only those active members who were eligible to vote in a particular circuit at the time the ballot mailing file is transmitted to the printer will be eligible to vote in the election, even if their status changes during the period between the time the ballot mailing file is transmitted and the actual election begins.  Members will receive a ballot for the circuit they were in according to their official address at the time the ballot mailing file was transmitted, or if so elected under rule 1-205, the circuit in which the member resides.  Ballot changes will not be made due to the Bar having an incorrect address for the member (see Rule 1-207) once the mailing file is transmitted.

The Elections Committee or its designee will review write-in votes to reasonably assure that slight variations in the spelling of a write-in candidate’s name are identified with the same person.

(g) Declaration of Results.  After the Elections Committee Chair approves the release of election results, the President and Executive Director will be notified of the results and all candidates in contested races will be notified of the results in their races via e-mail or telephone.  Statewide candidates will be notified by the Chair of the Elections Committee or his/her designee.  Staff liaison will contact all other candidates.  Thereafter, the names of the winning candidates are public information and will be posted on the State Bar website no later than the date for election results release included in the election schedule.  They may be made available to any interested person.  Additional information including vote counts by circuit will be available to any member upon request.  This includes any election for any year for which records are available.  Out of respect for members who did not offer for election, but nevertheless did receive votes, write-in information is available only if deemed relevant by the Chair or Vice-Chair of the Elections Committee.

(h) Questions and Appeals.

1. Election Procedure.  The Elections Committee, or its Chair, Co-Chair or Vice-Chair, is the final authority on all election matters except election result contests.  Therefore, any decision by State Bar staff may be appealed in writing within three business days to the Executive Director.  The Elections Committee or its designee has the discretion to, but is not obligated to, grant a hearing with all interested parties invited in connection with any appeal.

2. Election Result Contests.  The Executive Committee of the State Bar is the final authority on all election contests, but any contest should first be made to the Elections Committee, which will seek to resolve the matter or make a recommendation to the Executive Committee.  Any person receiving one or more votes may file a written contest.  All contests shall be received by the Executive Director within ten business days after the result was released and shall specify the re-count or other relief requested.  The Executive Committee or its designee has the discretion, but is not obligated, to grant a hearing with all interested parties invited in connection with any appeal.

(i) Executive Committee Elected Positions

1. Notification Procedure. No later than 5 days after officer election results are posted and made available, an e-mail notice shall be provided to members of the Board of Governors of the Executive Committee positions to be elected pursuant to the Bylaws, Article IV, Section 1.
2. Campaigning. Members of the Board of Governors who are candidates for the Executive Committee of the State Bar are entitled to send 2 emails to all members of the Board of Governors.  The emails can be a letter of any length and may include hyperlinks, if desired.  The letters will be included in the body of the email and will be sent through the State Bar email system following the guidelines in Standing Executive Committee Policy 500.  In addition, each candidate is entitled to receive one free set of printed or electronic mailing labels which are to be used to inform the Board of their candidacy.  Additional sets may be purchased by contacting the State Bar’s Membership Department.  A nominal fee will be charged for additional sets.  A candidate may not copy the printed labels provided, or the information contained on them, and must delete the electronic file after the single use provided herein.  None of the information contained on the labels or in the file may be used at any other time or for any other purpose except as provided in this section.

(j) Related State Bar Rules and Bylaws.

Part I

Chapter 2

Rule 1-203 Bar of Judicial Circuit

Chapter 3

Rule 1-304 Election of Members of Board of Governors
Rule 1-306 Vacancies; Ties

Chapter 4

Rule 1-402 Election of Officers
Rule 1-403 Vacancies; Ties

Chapter 7

Rule 1-701 Executive Committee

Bylaws

Article VII

Section 1.  Nomination of Officers
Section 2.  Nomination of Members for the Board of Governors
Section 3.  Circuits Having More Than One Member of Board of Governors
Section 4.  Nominating Petitions
Section 5.  Accepting Nominations
Section 6.  Ballots
Section 7.  Voters Lists:  Distribution of Ballots
Section 8.  Method of Voting
Section 9.  Elections Committee
Section 10.  Declaration of Results of Elections
Section 11.  Tie Vote
Section 12.  Run-Off

Article X

Section 1.  Delegates:  Designation; Nomination and Election; Alternates
Section 2.  Terms of Office
Section 3.  Alternate Appointments



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