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Atlanta, Georgia 30309-7200

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Election Law & Campaign Finance

The field of election law was not widely known until after the 2000 Presidential election. But SBL attorneys have been assisting with Georgia elections for more than 40 years, dating back to Frank Strickland’s role in creating a Republican primary in Georgia.

Campaign Consulting
Campaign Finance
Voting Rights Act

Campaign Consulting and Election Contests

Political campaigns often get started quickly, and do not necessarily take the time to consider all the legal obligations which are placed on them. Most campaigns should be functioning as a small business, but many candidates neglect wage and hour rules, incorporation, and insurance. Strickland Brockington Lewis has a broad understanding of the employment law area where many campaigns operate, but also a unique insight into the politicized world that is a campaign. SBL attorneys have experienced working on a campaign and are very familiar with the pressures faced by campaign staff and the candidate.

SBL regularly assists campaigns with incorporating, obtaining insurance, drafting or editing vendor and employment agreements, and maintaining best employment practices during the course of a long, hard campaign. After a candidate wins, the campaign apparatus does not disappear, and SBL assists with ongoing compliance with relevant laws.

After a hard campaign, sometimes a candidate loses due to election irregularities. SBL attorneys have litigated election law contests in Walker County where the House District 1 election was held three times and candidate qualification challenges across the state, successfully removing at least two candidates from the ballot who did not meet proper qualifications.

SBL is ready to assist your campaign in startup, compliance, or management.

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Campaign Finance

Unfortunately, the way money reaches political campaigns is one of the most confusing topics in the law today. There are multiple, often-overlapping, reports due to the Federal Election Commission, the IRS, and the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission. Some individuals who are not otherwise involved in politics are required to file reports with federal and state campaign finance authorities.

SBL has represented countless candidates and campaign committees at the Campaign Finance Commission during hearings, serves as counsel to several active campaigns, and has assisted in the creation of independent committees for years. SBL partner Frank Strickland is a former member of the Campaign Finance Commission, when it was known as the State Ethics Commission. Whether federal or state, SBL can ensure that your campaign is properly complying with all relevant laws, even new options like SuperPACs.

SBL is ready to assist your campaign or political action committee with its compliance obligations.

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After the release of a Decennial Census, Congressional seats are reapportioned among the states according to population. States then undertake the redistricting process of both Congressional and state legislative districts to make adjustment for population changes and thereby comply with the requirement of one person, one vote. Local governments must also redistrict to ensure equal population among their districts.

During the 1990, 2000, and 2010 redistricting processes, lawyers in the firm have represented various parties dealing with redistricting at the General Assembly, before the Department of Justice and in subsequent litigation in federal courts. In the 1990 cycle, SBL attorneys served as plaintiffs’ co-counsel in Jones v. Miller, the impasse case arising from Georgia’s 1991 redistricting, and as counsel to amicus curiae, Congressmen John Lewis and Newt Gingrich, in Johnson v. Miller, another case arising from Georgia’s 1990s redistricting.

During the 2000 cycle, the firm represented a group of citizens in Larios v. Cox, a redistricting case in the Northern District of Georgia in which a three judge court ruled unanimously in favor of the firm’s clients and threw out Georgia’s gerrymandered state House and Senate maps. By a vote of 8-1, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in Cox v. Larios on June 30, 2004. Larios was the first case in U.S. history that affirmatively demonstrated that there is no “safe harbor”when drawing legislative district maps. The Georgia General Assembly later redrew the Congressional plan in 2005 with assistance from SBL attorneys.

SBL attorneys are recognized as some of the foremost experts on redistricting law in the country. SBL attorneys regularly provide training to other lawyers on redistricting, including serving as subject matter experts on panels at the RNC Redistricting Conference, the Republican National Lawyers Association annual conference, and at law school functions.

In the 2010 cycle, SBL represented the Georgia General Assembly in the redistricting process and is working with several other states to ensure that the redistricting process meets all relevant legal requirements. SBL Partner Frank Strickland taught an Election Law elective at Georgia State University’s Law School in the Spring 2011 semester, assisted by Anne Lewis and Bryan Tyson.

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Voting Rights Act

Some states, including Georgia, must submit all election law changes, such as redistricting, for preclearance under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. There are few law firms in the nation with the specialized knowledge necessary to deal with preclearance issues, in part because of the limited application of the VRA. Strickland Brockington Lewis attorneys are recognized experts and provide training for other attorneys on the complexities of the VRA.

In the 2000 redistricting cycle, the firm represented four minority citizens in the State of Georgia’s Section 5 preclearance case, State of Georgia v. John Ashcroft, et al., which was appealed to the United States Supreme Court and remanded to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for further proceedings before being later dismissed as moot.

In 2010, SBL was appointed by the Governor to represent the State of Georgia in a preclearance action for Georgia’s voter verification process. The case, State of Georgia v. Holder, was eventually settled in less than two months, with the Department of Justice agreeing to preclear changes that had been pending for nearly two years. A second case involving preclearance of a citizenship verification process was also settled with the Department of Justice after litigation was filed.

SBL attorneys were appointed as Special Assistant Attorneys General for preclearance of the Congressional, state House, and state Senate plans adopted by the General Assembly in its 2011 special session. Working with the Attorney General’s office, SBL filed suit and submitted the plans for administrative preclearance, leading to the first time Georgia obtained preclearance for all three plans on its first attempt in the history of the state.

SBL has also represented local jurisdictions in cases brought under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which challenges vote dilution. These cases can be extremely complex and require specialized knowledge.

SBL is ready to assist your local government or state governments with litigation and compliance with Section 5 and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

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