Latina candidate disqualified from race - CBS46 News

Latina candidate disqualified from race

Posted: Updated:
Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

For months she's been campaigning to be the next Representative of House District 29, but on Friday Maria Palacios learned she'd been disqualified from the race.

“I feel like I am what a lot of people in the district look like, live like, and have experienced,” said Palacios.

Palacios was born in Mexico but grew up in Georgia. She became a U.S. Citizen in June of 2017.

“I grew up in Gainesville, went to all the city schools so I consider myself from Gainesville,” she said.

The Georgia Constitution requires that candidates for the State House of Representatives "shall have been citizens of this state for at least two years." But the ACLU's argument is over whether someone has to be a U.S. Citizen to be considered a citizen of the state.  

“The secretary of state says that in order to be a citizen of the state, you have to be a United States citizen,” says ACLU Georgia legal director Sean Young. “that doesn't appear anywhere in the Georgia constitution.”

In his decision to remove Palacios from the ballot, Secretary of State Brian Kemp writes that he finds "it is necessary to be a U.S. Citizen in order to be a citizen of the state."

The ACLU disagrees and is now suing to get the decision reversed.

“That opinion is wrong,” Young said. “It doesn't make any sense and we're taking him to court for that.”

Palacios is the only Democrat running for House District 29 and write-in candidates are not allowed in primary elections. She hopes the Superior Court of Fulton County will reverse Kemp's decision by the general election. 

“My biggest concern is that I will be able to be on the ballot in November,” Palacios said.

Palacios' name will still be on Tuesday's ballot but there will be signs up at polling locations telling voters that she's disqualified. 

Copyright 2018 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Connect with CBS46