Media Contact

Media contact: media@acluga.org

July 17, 2018

Who:
Burrell Ellis, Political Director - ACLU of Georgia
Edward Mitchell, Executive Director - CAIR Georgia
Kim Copeland, Chairman - Hall County Democratic Committee

What:
Press Conference proceeding Oral Argument/Court Hearing on whether Maria Palacios, a U.S. citizen, should be qualified to run for office.
 
Where:
185 Central
Atlanta, GA
In front of the new side of the Justice Center Complex
 
When:
1pm on Wednesday, July 18, 2018
 
Why:
To ask the court to protect the right of Georgia citizens to participate fully in the electoral process including running for office. The Georgia Constitution allows longtime Georgia residents who become United States citizens to honorably serve their communities as elected leaders, regardless of their party affiliation or national origin.
 
Quote:
“The right to run for public office is a cornerstone of our democracy,” stated Burrell Ellis, Political Director of the ACLU of Georgia. “The Secretary of State fails to understand that all U.S. Citizens are created equal and apparently believes that newly-naturalized U.S. citizens have second-class status. This is wrong. All United States citizens, regardless of country of origin, deserve the right to run for public office.”
 
Facts: 
Ms. Palacios, a Democrat, is running for state representative in House District 29. 
The district is 60% people of color with a 43% Hispanic population. 
Ms. Palacios is the only candidate in the Democratic primary and no write-in candidates are allowed in primaries. 
Forcing her off of the ballot would ensure no Democratic opposition in the November general election. 
On May 11, 2018, the Secretary of State disqualified Ms. Palacios because she was allegedly not a “citizen of the state” for two years since she because a U.S. citizen last year.
Ms. Palacios has been a permanent legal resident of Georgia since 2009 and an active citizen in her community. She is the PTA president of her daughter’s elementary school. 
The ACLU of Georgia appealed the Secretary of State’s decision shortly thereafter arguing that courts around the nation have long held that United States citizenship is not required to be a citizen of a state. 
On July 18, 2018, at 2:30 p.m., Judge Schwall, Courtroom 5E at the Fulton County Superior Court, will hold an oral argument/final hearing to decide the appeal. 
 
Click the file name to view the legal documents.
 
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