Georgia candidate running in wrong House district

‘It’s got to be some kind of joke’

A candidate for the Georgia House, Demoine Kinney, felt stunned when he couldn’t find his name on his own ballot.

Kinney found out that redistricting last year put him within new political boundaries, a fact he learned after he had filed to run for office in the district where he thought he lived.

He might be disqualified from the race because his home isn’t located inside the Conyers-area district he would represent.

“Wait a minute, it’s got to be some kind of joke or something,” Kinney said he told a poll worker during early voting last week. “When you look at the map, it looks like they intentionally drew me out” of the previous district.

Many Georgia voters’ representatives changed last year as a result of redistricting, a once-a-decade task in which the General Assembly remaps the state to equalize district populations after the 2020 census.

Credit: Demoine Kinney

Credit: Demoine Kinney

Kinney, an Air Force veteran, pastor and business owner, said he thought he did everything he could to confirm his House district. He tried to obtain maps from the Rockdale County elections office, the secretary of state’s office and the state campaign finance commission, but he said the maps they provided lacked enough detail to verify his home district.

When he paid $400 to qualify to run for office at the Capitol in March, he said a representative of the Democratic Party checked his driver’s license and signed him up to run for the incorrect district.

Before redistricting, Kinney lived in House District 91, located southeast of Atlanta. Most of that district remained unchanged after redistricting except that it was given a new number and became House District 92, where Kinney decided to run for office against incumbent state Rep. Rhonda Taylor in the Democratic primary.

But a pocket of the district where Kinney lives became part of House District 93, where two other Democrats are running for office.

Candidates and political parties are responsible for ensuring accurate districts, according to the secretary of state’s office. Detailed maps are available online through the Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office.

Kinney wants to continue running for office, but his options are limited.

If his candidacy is challenged, Kinney could plead his case during a hearing. But he’ll be unable to fulfill the Georgia Constitution’s residency requirement that General Assembly candidates live in the districts they represent.

Kinney’s disqualification would result in Taylor’s reelection because there’s no Republican candidate in the race.