Cardinale v. Webb

Court: Superior Court of Fulton County
Case Number: 2019-CV-316797
Decision Date: February 22, 2019
Case Type: Elections
After Matthew Cardinale, a candidate for an open seat on the City of Atlanta city council, was disqualified from running for the seat pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 21-2-6(e) by the city's elections superintendent, he filed a petition for an emergency hearing in Fulton County Superior Court in hopes of acquiring a stay of disqualification. In order to qualify for the office candidates had to have lived in the district for one year prior to qualfiying. The city's elections superintendent had held that Cardinale was not qualified to run for the open seat for a variety of reasons, the most significant being that Cardinale was staying at an AirBnb rental during the first part of the year and had a lease at another property outside of the district. The elections superintendent further held that an AirBnb rental did not qualify as a residence because it was similar to a hotel.

The Fulton County Superior Court granted the petition for an emergency hearing and held that O.C.G.A. § 21-2-217(a) did not require residency at a specific address but merely required residence within the particular political subdivsion (or district, as the case may be). The court also held that Cardinale had tendered earnest money to rent a home within the district by the cutoff date and that there was no evidence in the record that his residence within the district was temporary by the time of the cutoff date, even though he was still residing in an AirBnb at the time. As a result, the court reversed the disqualification and allowed Cardinale to run for the city council seat.