ATLANTA — A video of former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed from last November prompted an investigation by the secretary of state’s office.
The State Election Board wants the attorney general to investigate whether a message to voters from Reed on Election Day went too far.
"Hello, I'm Mayor Kasim Reed here in southwest Atlanta at Fickett Elementary School, and my wife, Sarah-Elisabeth, and my daughter, Maria Kristan, and I, we just voted for the next mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms," Reed said in the video posted online.
Georgia law states:
"No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method on any day in which ballots are being cast within 150-feet of the outer edge of any building within which a polling place is established."
The video seemed to show Reed and his family within that 150-foot limit outside Fickett Elementary School, Reed's polling place, when he made the pitch for Lance Bottoms.
Reed told Channel 2 Action News the election board's move took him by surprise.
Channel 2 Action News first reported on the concerns about the video back in November.
While the board's own investigator concluded that there was no violation of election law, members of the board feel otherwise.
“Go vote today. It’s voting weather all over the City of Atlanta. Go Keisha,” Reed said in the video.
In an email to Channel 2 Action News, election board member David Worley wrote:
"My view was that the conduct reported in the complaint violated Georgia's election code. I thought that making an endorsement video fit the definition."
The board voted unanimously to refer the case to the attorney general.
"One has to play by the rules, and in this case, the rules are pretty straightforward," said Harvey Newman, at the Georgia State University Andrew Young School.
Channel 2's Aaron Diamant asked Newman whether it's likely the attorney general would open a criminal case.
"In this instance, I think it was simply a reflection of poor judgment," Newman said.
Reed sent Channel 2 Action News the following statement:
"In early September, I received a letter from the state elections board informing me that this matter was resolved and no further action was required. This letter also stated that neither I, nor my counsel, needed to appear at the meeting on September 11, 2018. Accordingly, I was surprised to learn that the action discussed in your story was taken by the board without me or my counsel being given notice or the opportunity to be heard on this matter."
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