Georgia Supreme Court sends 2020 Fulton County election lawsuit back to appeals court to reconsider

The lawsuit was originally dismissed for lack of standing.
Judge's gavel

The Georgia Supreme Court on Tuesday sent a 2020 election lawsuit regarding Fulton County back to a lower court for reconsideration, adding another layer to the suit's twisting saga through the court system.

The lawsuit, Caroline Jeffords, et al. v. Fulton County, et al., alleges that the plaintiffs' votes in the 2020 election were "diluted by the inclusion of allegedly unlawful ballots in Fulton County." Jeffords also alleged that Fulton County violated the Georgia Open Records Act.

In July, the Court of Appeals of Georgia dismissed an appeal by the plaintiffs of a trial court's dismissal of the case, siding with the trial court's decision on Jeffords lacking standing for the lawsuit because a "particularized injury" had not been alleged. The appeals court's rationale for dismissing the case for lack of standing was based on a prior decision in 2021 titled Sons of Confederate Veterans v. Henry County Board of Commissioner.

However, the Georgia Supreme Court in October of this year ruled on the Confederate case, redefining what constitutes "standing" for a party to bring a lawsuit. 

In that decision, the Georgia Supreme Court said regarding standing: "[O]nly plaintiffs with a cognizable injury can bring a suit in Georgia courts. Unlike federal law, however, that injury need not always be individualized; sometimes it can be a generalized grievance shared by community members, especially other residents, taxpayers, voters, or citizens."

The court this week ruled on the Jeffords case to come in line with that ruling. "The certiorari request in the the Jeffords is granted, the judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the Court of Appeals for reconsideration in light of Sons of Confederate Veterans v. Henry County Board of Commissioners," the state supreme court wrote on Tuesday.


Regarding voters, the Court later noted in the Confederate case: "Voters may be injured when elections are not administered according to the law or when elected officials fail to follow the voters' referendum for increased taxes to fund a particular project, so voters may have standing to vindicate public rights."