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Votes questioned in probate race
Bobby Smith

An attorney for Long County Probate Judge Bobby Harrison Smith is seeking to throw out the results of the June 9 election, saying he has found examples of voter fraud in Long County.

Atlanta attorney Jake Evans, of the law firm Holland & Knight, appeared on several TV news stations last week claiming some people were able to vote twice during the election and others who were eligible to vote were turned away.

Smith lost the June 9, election to challenger Teresa L. Odum by nine votes, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s final certified election results.

According to court documents, Smith filed a petition saying Odum failed to meet residency requirements to be on the ballot. Long County Superior Court Judge Paul Rose ruled against Smith.

Smith filed an appeal which was ultimately sent to the Supreme Court of Georgia.

On Aug. 6, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled in favor of Odum, citing Smith had failed to meet specific deadlines, according to court records.

Evans filed a petition to contest the election with Long County Superior Court, according to a copy of the petition obtained by the Courier.

Evans’ 29-page petition states, in part, that the June 9, election, “was full of irregularities and errors that, in total, cast in doubt the Election’s result— a difference of only nine votes. These irregularities and errors include (1) individuals not residing in Long County voting in the Election, (2) missing ballots reappearing at a recount and uncertainty about if ballots had been counted twice, (3) absentee ballots never being sent to individuals that requested them and those individuals’ votes being rejected as they could not vote due to public health concerns, (4) eligible voters wrongly being turned away at the polls, (5) Long County election voters improperly using newly-purchased election machines causing voters to be wrongly turned away and their votes wrongly rejected.”

Odum’s attorney, Luke Moses of Jones, Osteen and Jones filed a response to the petition saying the allegations are untrue.

“No credible evidence or any irregularities or illegalities exist which warrant the relief sought by Smith. As such the results of the June 9, 2020 election for the Office of Probate Judge of Long County should stand,” the response said.

“I feel deep sadness for the citizens of Long County,” Moses told the Courier. “They voted Bobby Smith out of office--fair and square. He couldn’t accept the fact that he was going to have opposition, so he challenged his opponent’s residency. He couldn’t accept that he lost the residency argument in front of the Board of Elections, so he took it to the Superior Court. He couldn’t accept that he lost the residency argument in front of the Superior Court, so he took it to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals wouldn’t hear it, so he took the argument to the Supreme Court where he lost again. Then, he lost the election. He couldn’t accept that either, so he requested a recount. When the recount showed that he was still the loser, he challenged the election results by making meritless accusations against private citizens. When Teresa Odum debunked those allegations, he took his case to the court of public opinion and made allegations that, as of this writing, have not been made in Court.”

In an Aug. 28 letter to Judge John E. Morse, Moses wrote that Evans was meeting with members of the Board of Commissioners of Long County for the apparent purpose of enlisting their assistance in effecting a settlement of this case.

“The citizens of Long County now have to pay defend the Long County Board of Elections against these meritless claims by folks whose previous claims have been repeatedly discredited,” Moses added. “If Bobby Smith wants to do a service for the citizens of Long County, he should respect the will of its voters and bow out now. It might be too late for him to walk away gracefully, but if he steps down now, he might maintain some semblance of dignity.”

A hearing is scheduled on Smith’s Petition on Sept. 8 and 9 in the Superior Court of Long County. The Courier will continue to follow this story as it develops. 

According to documents obtained by the Courier, Smith’s mother, Harriet Smith has been investigated by the Secretary of State’s office for misconduct. Secretary of State Investigator Kelly Monroe concluded that Harriet Smith likely committed 34 felonies during Smith’s first campaign in 2016, documents show.

Bobby Smith Petition to Contest Election Results
Response to Petition to Contest Election Results and Request for New Election Odum
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