Clayton sheriff candidate’s election eligibility ruling appealed

Unhappy with a Clayton County Board of Elections ruling, a Riverdale man has taken his case to court to consider whether a candidate for sheriff is eligible to run.

Stanley Byars filed an appeal March 23 in Clayton Superior Court alleging former Clayton Public Schools police chief Clarence Cox should not be allowed to run for office because he has not lived in the county long enough. Byars also contends Cox lived in Hapeville but voted in Clayton using his ex-wife’s address. Cox told county elections officials he has lived in Clayton for more than 30 years. A candidate for sheriff must live in the county at least two years before running for that office.

On March 15, the five-member elections board officials split 2-2 over the question of Cox’s eligiblity, enabling him to continue his bid for sheriff. One board member recused herself after Cox’s attorney questioned her ability to be impartial.

Efforts to reach Cox were unsuccessful Thursday afternoon.

In the appeal, Byars alleged he “presented clear and convincing evidence that demonstrated that Cox did not meet the residency requirements. Despite this showing Cox’s attorney testifying on his behalf and being allowed to enter improper testimony and evidence and despite Cox’s inability to controvert the evidence provided by (Byars), the board improperly ruled in Cox’s favor.”

In addition to Cox, the elections board also is named as a defendant in Byars’ appeal.

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