The blog.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 8, 2016

On November 8, 1860, Savannah residents protested in favor of secession following the election of Abraham Lincoln.

President Abraham Lincoln (R) was reelected on November 8, 1864.

Franklin D. Roosevelt made his 15th trip to Warm Springs, Georgia on November 8, 1928 after winning the election for Governor of New York.

Richard B. Russell, Jr. was elected to the United States Senate on November 8, 1932 and would serve until his death in 1971. Before his election to the Senate, Russell served as State Representative, Speaker of the Georgia House, and the youngest Governor of Georgia; his father served as Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. On the same day, part-time Georgia resident Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States.

On November 8, 1994, Republicans won control of the United States House of Representatives and Senate in what came to be called the “Republican Revolution.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today, we vote for President of the United States, to reelect Senator Johnny Isakson, and in some jurisdictions, the local politicians who will affect your life far more than anyone working in Washington, DC.

•     Take your ID with you – click for the acceptable forms of ID.

•     Make sure you are in line by 7 PM – as long as you’re in line by closing time, you’ll be able to vote.

•     If you’re not sure where to vote, check the Secretary of State’s website here. If you voted by absentee ballot, that site also allows you to check on whether your absentee vote was received.

•     If your machine is misbehaving, don’t press the “Cast your vote” button without being certain that it properly reflects your preferences and don’t hesitate to get a poll worker to help you.

•     For issues that can’t be resolved by the poll workers, to submit a complaint, you can contact the office through Secretary Kemp’s social media or use the “Stop Voter Fraud” website and hotline at (877) 725-9797. You can contact his office via Twitter at @BrianKempGA or on Facebook.

Early voting is fine and all, but I prefer to vote on Election Day, as the good Lord intended. Unless I will be unable to vote on election day, I don’t early vote because if something causes you to change your vote preference, if you’ve already cast your vote, there’s no way to undo it.

In November 2010, during a Superior Court runoff in DeKalb County, accusations of lying about endorsements surfaced against candidate Michael Rothenberg, then accusations of fraud surfaced that would ultimately lead to his being indicted and pleading guilty in federal court.

“This defendant stole from investors who trusted his judgment,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “His fraud is particularly egregious because he was involved in defrauding investors at the very time he was seeking to be elected as a DeKalb County superior court judge and because he used a portion of the illegal proceeds to fund his political campaign. Ultimately, his fraud scheme was uncovered, and his quest to be elected ended in failure.”

But he came very close to being elected to the bench.

After Courtney Johnson won the runoff election with 61% it wasn’t clear how much of her victory could be attributed to the last news cycles of the election.

But precinct-level returns shed some light.

Mike Jacobs’s district comprises eleven precincts in North DeKalb. During early runoff voting, Rothenberg ran the table here, carrying 66% of the vote and all but two of the eleven precincts. On election day, voters gave Courtney Johnson 56% of the vote, a twenty-three point gain over the weekend, and she carried nine of eleven precincts.

Courtney Johnson won the rest of the county handily, approaching 90% in a number of precincts. But it is instructive to view the sea-change in voter sentiment in reaction to a news story about candidate ethics.

And that’s why I prefer to vote on Election Day.

Last night, Mrs. GaPundit was speaking to her mother, who lives in Pennsylvania, where early voting is very limited and less than 5% of votes are cast as absentee ballots. Kudos to PA.

The Georgia Republican Party Victory celebration begins at 6 PM tonight at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead, located at 3300 Peachtree Road, NE – Atlanta.

The Democratic Party of Georgia is hosting an event at the Hyatt Regency, 265 Peachtree St. NE Atlanta, GA 30303, as well as election return parties across the state.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp doesn’t expect voting problems today, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp visited Macon on Monday to detail his office’s preparations for Election Day as large crowds are expected to turn out at polling places throughout the state. Nearly 2.4 million took advantage of advanced voting during this election cycle, eclipsing the turnout in the previous two presidential elections.

“If you are someone encountering long lines at polling locations, I would encourage everyone to remain patient and calm,” Kemp said. “We know it’s going to be a busy day.”

The Secretary of State’s Office has set up a hotline at 877-725-9797 for anyone having voting problems Election Day that extend beyond what precinct workers can handle.

“If you or anyone you know see something suspicious call our hotline,” Lewis said. “We are working on the front-line making sure the election is secure, accessible and fair.”

Along with the secretary of state, other agencies will have people monitoring polling sites Tuesday. The U.S. Department of Justice will have members of its Civil Rights Division in Hancock County while in Macon-Bibb County the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is partnering with local NAACP chapter to ensure equal access to ballots.

Kemp said that his office will be able to handle any voting problems that arise.

“We will run every single complaint down,” he said. “We’ll be the ones that can react the fastest to that. We will have (investigators) deployed at strategic locations across the state.”

Cobb County set a new record for early and advance voting, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

Cobb closed its record-setting three-week early voting period on Friday with 161,112 votes cast either in person or through the mail, a 37 percent increase over the 117,315 votes cast early over the same period in 2012.

The early voting period was capped off by a single-day turnout record on Friday, when 20,929 people turned up to the county’s 11 early voting locations to cast a ballot, according to unofficial numbers from Cobb Elections.

Additionally, should a voter experience any issues with a voting machine, they should stop voting and get a poll worker, Eveler said. As long as a ballot has not been submitted, voters can be moved to a new machine.

“The poll manager can actually cancel that ballot and move them to a different machine if they’re not comfortable with that machine,” she said. “Or maybe there’s something they can fix or they can tell them, ‘Oh, that’s normal.’”

Johnny Isakson appeared in Macon at a Get Out the Vote rally with Governor Nathan Deal.

Isakson also held a rally in Columbus, Georgia.

“You heard in my remarks mention, Columbus is the business center of Southwest Georgia and our state.  It’s the home of Prat and Whitney, It’s the home of Aflac, it’s the home of TSYS, It’s the home of Synovus, It’s the home of NCR.  It’s a great city. Columbus and Muscogee County always play a big role in Georgia and we want to get every vote we can in every corner of the state,” said Isakson.

‘Isakson Day’ is far from finished, he will be heading to Macon, Albany and his final stop at the Cobb County Republican Party headquarters in Marietta, Georgia

Houston County Republicans expect a large turnout for Donald J. Trump at the polls today.

Henry Childs, chairman of the Houston County GOP and an ardent Trump supporter, said he believes that party loyalists who didn’t like Trump will end up voting for him. Childs said when he speaks to people with doubts about Trump, he urges them to focus on how he stands on the issues rather than his personality.

“I go back to the basics,” he said. “What are your values? Do you believe in the right to life? Do you believe in the sanctity of marriage? A balanced budget? Then you fit right in with Mr. Trump.”

Kelly Burke, a former Houston County district attorney, was a strong supporter of Ted Cruz in the primary. With an acrimonious relationship between Cruz and Trump, winning over Cruz supporters has been one of Trump’s biggest challenges.

Burke said he would not count himself as ever having been among the “Never Trump” faction, but he did not at one time think he would vote for him. He has since changed his mind and voted for him during the early voting period.

Burke said it ultimately came down to the fact that Trump is closer to his views.

“Trump has really hit a nerve and I think appropriately so,” Burke said. “I think he has helped the Republicans understand what the biggest bulk of Americans are worried about.”

Like the Childses, Burke believes Trump will carry Houston County, a longtime Republican stronghold, by similarly large margins as previous Republican presidential candidates have.

The Gainesville Times reviews local elections as well as statewide candidates and the Constitutional Amendments.

Federal poll monitors will be in Gwinnett, DeKalb, and Hancock Counties today.

Hancock County, where voting advocates have tussled with election officials over alleged voter purges and polling location closures, is the third Georgia county where federal monitors will be stationed. The Democratic National Committee Justice Department is also staffing its own toll free hotline at 800-253-3931.

Voting advocates including the Georgia NAACP had petitioned the Justice Department to consider sending federal monitors here for the presidential election, which is the first since a 2013 U. S. Supreme Court decision striking down a provision in the national Voting Rights Act requiring jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination to seek approval before making changes to voting rules.

The Albany Area YMCA offers childcare for voters today.

The Central Facility on Gillionville Road and the Lee County Branch are offering Election Day childcare.

Y members can drop off their kids for free. Others in the community can do so for a small fee.

“We just felt that it would give everybody an opportunity to get out to vote and drop their children off in a safe environment at the YMCA,” Assistant Childcare Director Sarah Mitchell said.

You can find more information at the organization’s Facebook page.

Lilburn City Council held their first meeting in the new City Hall.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 7, 2016


Duke is an 8-month old, 22-pound male Labrador Retriever & Terrier Mix who is available for adoption from Priceless Pets Atlanta in Atlanta, GA.

He’s sturdy, low-maintenance with his short hair, and sweet tempered. He’s eager to please and crate trained. All he needs is a loving home to call his own. Like all puppies, Duke will need to learn basic commands and a little more work on the housetraining issue. He’s got a good start, and promises to be a quick learner.


Gigi is a 6-year old, 25-pound female Wheaten Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Priceless Pets Atlanta in Atlanta, GA.

Gigi gets along well with other dogs and is a quiet girl. She is not demanding or barky. She seems to be very grateful to be clean and well-fed now and live with people who care about her. Gigi is not destructive when left home alone and knows how to use a doggie door. So far, she appears to be housebroken.


Polo is 6-year old, 15-pound Piebald Dachshund who is available for adoption from Priceless Pets Atlanta in Atlanta, GA.

He was given up by his family because their daughter, who was his “owner” has moved away and the family no longer wants Polo.

Polo is very very sweet and affectionate. He gets along with dogs, cats and kids. He is crate trained but not reliably house broken according to his former owners. Polo arrived with heartworms, but has been treated to rid him of this awful parasite.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 7, 2016

Georgia Governor Joseph Brown addressed the Georgia legislature calling on them to consider Georgia’s future on November 7, 1860, the day after Abraham Lincoln’s election as President.

Jeanette Rankin was elected to Congress, the first female Member, on November 7, 1916 from Montana. After leaving Congress, Rankin moved to Watkinsville, Georgia in 1925. The Jeanette Rankin Scholarship Foundation, based in Athens, Georgia provides college scholarships and support for low-income women 35 and older.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to a record fourth term on November 7, 1944.

Democrat Sam Nunn was reelected to the United States Senate on November 7, 1978.

On November 7, 1989, David Dinkins was elected the first African-American Mayor of New York and Douglas Wilder was elected the first African-American Governor of Virginia.

On November 7, 2006, Georgia reelected its first Republican Governor since Reconstruction, Sonny Perdue, and elected its first GOP Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagle.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Janet Reno, who served nearly eight years as United States Attorney General under President Bill Clinton, has died.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp tallies more than 2 million early votes cast in this year’s General Election.

With over 2,180,000 early ballots cast in Georgia leading up to Election Day, Secretary of State Brian Kemp announces today that Peach State voters have shattered the 2008 early voting record of 2,129,316 total early ballots cast. This new record will continue to climb today as voters hit the polls on the last day of advance in-person voting for the November 8, 2016 election.

“Georgia voters are highly enthusiastic and taking full advantage of unprecedented access to the ballot box to make sure their voices are heard,” stated Secretary Kemp. “As Georgia’s chief elections official, I want to ensure every Georgian has the opportunity to allow their voice to be heard at the polls.”

Thus far, 166,875 mail-in absentee ballots and 2,013,132 advance in-person ballots have been cast in the November election. Secretary Kemp will continue to provide updated early voting totals throughout the day on his Twitter account.

Secretary Kemp encourages Georgia voters to report any voting irregularities or complaints involving elections to the office’s Investigations Division. To submit a complaint, you can contact the office through Secretary Kemp’s social media or use the “Stop Voter Fraud” website and hotline at (877) 725-9797.

On Monday, November 7, 2016, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp will hold a press conference at the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport at 8:00 a.m. on election integrity, preparedness, and security before flying out to make himself available to media in Augusta, Savannah, Albany, Columbus, and Macon. Secretary Kemp will hold press conferences in these cities to ensure members of the public that Georgia is ready to conduct a secure, accessible, and fair election on November 8, 2016.

In 2012, 212,695 mail-in absentee ballots were cast in the Presidential election and 1,706,236 in-person advance votes were cast. I suspect tomorrow will bring higher turnout than 2012.

Senator Johnny Isakson is also flying around the state today, holding GOTV events for tomorrow’s election.

Monday, November 7, 2016
10:00 a.m. – Columbus
Columbus Metropolitan Airport
Flight Ways Columbus
3250 W. Britt David Road
Columbus, Ga.

Noon – Macon
Middle Georgia Regional Airport
Lowe Aviation
2178 Flightline Avenue
Macon, Ga.

2:30 p.m. – Albany
Southwest Georgia Regional Airport
Eagles of America Albany, Inc
3905 Newton Road #111
Albany, Ga.

5:00 p.m. – Marietta
Cobb County Republican Party Headquarters
799 Roswell St NE
Marietta, Ga.

Governor Nathan Deal joined Congressman Buddy Carter and former Senator Saxby Chambliss in Savannah yesterday to get-out-the-vote for Isakson.

The lawmakers spoke about the need to reelect Senator Isakson at the event. They cited Senator Isakson’s commitment to the Port of Savannah over the years and his seniority as reasons to vote for him this Tuesday.

“It is critical that we keep someone like Johnny Isakson in a leadership position with seniority. Maybe you don’t fully appreciate the importance of seniority in the United States Senate. I can assure you that’s one of the most important elements that he brings to this job is his seniority and his ability to get along with other senators,” said Governor Deal.

“Folks I don’t know of any other Georgian who is been with the Republican Party as long as Johnny Isakson has. He deserves to be reelected. We need to get out. We need to vote for him,” said Representative Carter.

Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach highlighted Senator Isakson’s work over the years building up the Port of Savannah as well as the expansion project as to why he is endorsing the senator.

“We’ve got $700 million coming in to do the ports, we have got our portion in place but we are waiting on the federal government. He is there with his finger on the pulse to push that issue,” said Mayor DeLoach.

The Augusta Chronicle looks at elections across the state tomorrow.

REPLACING REP. WESTMORELAND: Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland is leaving Congress after six terms. West Georgia voters in the 3rd District have to elect his replacement.

The advantage goes to GOP candidate Drew Ferguson, a dentist and former mayor of West Point. The district was drawn to favor Republicans, and Westmoreland won his last contested campaign with 69.5 percent of the vote in 2010.

Ferguson’s opponent, Democrat Angela Pendley of Grantville, reported raising no cash for the race. Ferguson raised more than $1.1 million.

STATE LEGISLATURE: Two state lawmakers who won special elections last year to fill vacancies in the Legislature are back on the ballot.

State Rep. Taylor Bennett is trying to keep metro Atlanta’s 80th District in Democratic hands in a race with Republican Meagan Hanson. The GOP previously held the seat. Similarly, Republican state Sen. JaNice Van Ness hopes to defend her 43rd District seat in metro Atlanta, which was vacated by a Democrat last year. Van Ness faces Democrat Tonya Anderson.

In a controversial south Georgia state House race, Democrats have put their hopes in an independent candidate to topple a Republican incumbent. GOP Rep. Gerald Greene faces the Rev. Kenneth Zachary in the 151st District. Zachary was recruited to run as an independent after Democrat James Williams was told he lived outside the district and was disqualified.

Ron Daniel of The Douglas County Sentinel reviews the state of voting.

For voters who didn’t cast their ballots during advance voting, this will be the final shot at weighing in on who occupies several important offices over the next four years — or two in the case of state legislators.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, at all 25 of Douglas County’s precincts.

The good news for those who waited — more than half of active registered voters cast their ballots early.

There were 36,234 early in-person votes cast in Douglas, 1,916 mailed and 24 electronic, totaling 38,174 and those numbers aren’t final. That total is more than 53 percent of the 71,000 active voters the Douglas County Elections Office reports here.

While advance voting ended Friday, absentee ballots will continue to be accepted through Tuesday.

Carroll County saw heavy advance voting leading up to tomorrow’s election.

Early voting ended at 7 p.m. on Friday with approximately 23,877 residents casting their ballots in Carroll County.

On Friday alone, elections officials reported more than 2,600 voters as Georgia was setting a state record for early voting.

Hall County posted record early voting numbers.

Whether they voted for Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton — or even Mickey Mouse — early voters in Hall County expressed a kind of joyous relief at the polls on Friday about nearing the end of a presidential election that has been as bitter and outrageous as any in recent memory.

On Friday, nearly 3,200 county residents voted, a single-day record.

Wait times neared an hour, according to several voters in line in the late afternoon, and the last voter cast their ballot at 6:25 p.m., nearly an hour and a half after polls closed.

Strong turnout all last week pushed the total early voting turnout to 34,921, which surpassed the record set in 2008 by about 1,000 votes.

In addition, Hall Elections Director Charlotte Sosebee said about 3,000 absentee and 200 overseas military ballots had been received by Friday.

Latino voting was higher in Georgia.

So far, Latino voting in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina is significantly up from 2012, according to Catalist, a data company that works with progressive candidates and groups to receive detailed early vote return information this year.

At this point in 2012, 12,933 Latinos, or 0.9% of early voters, cast early ballots. In 2016, that number has increased to more than double at 31,623 people, or 1.7% of all voters who cast their ballot early.

The Hispanic electorate in Georgia isn’t large, but Hispanic early turnout has increased by 144% from 2012.

Lowndes County saw roughly one-third of voters during the advance and absentee voting period.

During the 17 available days of early voting, 25,554 voters voted in Lowndes County, according to information released during the weekend by the Lowndes County Board of Elections.

On the last day of early voting, Friday, Nov. 4, 2,417 voters cast a ballot.

The numbers reflect ballots completed in person and by mail, according to elections officials.

Lowndes County has approximately 67,000 active and inactive voters, said Deb Cox, Lowndes County election supervisor.

Absentee ballots received between Saturday and Tuesday, Nov. 5-8, will be added to the early voting number, according to the elections office.

Reuters gets a little ahead of itself, asking about what happens if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency.

The comments from U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, who is up for re-election on Tuesday, and U.S. Senator David Perdue came after Republican Senators John McCain and Ted Cruz suggested they might block any of Clinton’s potential nominees.

“You don’t shirk your responsibility when you’re an elected official. You sanctify your responsibility, and that’s what I’ll do. I’ll consider who she nominates at the time she does and make a decision that’s right for the people of Georgia,” Isakson told the Atlanta newspaper.

A spokeswoman for Perdue, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told the AJC: “He wants to ensure we have a Supreme Court justice who will uphold the Constitution, and he will examine each nominee independently based on their merits.”

Isakson said he expects the Senate will confirm [Federal Court of Appeals Judge Merrick] Garland before January in the event of a Clinton victory. Some Republicans fear Clinton would nominate a more liberal justice, swinging the ideological balance of the court even further to the left.

Kyle Wingfield looks at the money behind the anti-OSD Amendment 1 groups.

If passed, it would create a new statewide Opportunity School District. Struggling schools that receive an “F” grade for three consecutive years could be transferred to the new district, which could then make changes, convert them to charter schools or close them.

This isn’t so much an experiment as a replication. Georgia’s plan is modeled in part after Louisiana’s Recovery School District, which spurred remarkable gains in student achievement after Hurricane Katrina. It also resembles Tennessee’s Achievement School District, which the legislature created in 2010.

That is what worries America’s education establishment. Teachers unions do not want this model of school reform to spread further. As of Nov. 1, campaign disclosures show, the National Education Association alone has poured $4.7 million into opposing Georgia’s amendment. For the most part the unions are making a conservative pitch: They argue that the Opportunity School District would create a new, unaccountable state bureaucracy that would take schools out of local control.

It’s the same case the unions made in 2012. The Georgia ballot then included a constitutional amendment allowing the state to create charter schools—a workaround if local education boards didn’t want them. That measure passed easily, 59% to 41%, and opponents’ dire predictions haven’t come to fruition. But the union effort this year is better funded, and opinion polls indicate that the Opportunity School District won’t pass nearly as comfortably. Balloting is expected to be close.

Georgia’s economic future—and America’s more broadly—depends on turning around “dropout factories” in cities like Atlanta, Savannah and Augusta. But what worries the teachers unions is that a good idea might spread—from Louisiana, to Georgia, to a dozen other states that are serious about fixing failing schools.

I will vote for the Opportunity School District Amendment Number One tomorrow. I believe in local control, but persistently failing schools suggest that local control doesn’t always deliver the results Georgia’s children deserve. Having watched DeKalb and Clayton County school boards removed after accreditation trouble, I think we need the ability to take pro-active steps before an entire district is on the brink of failure. Sometimes the voters choose unwisely.

That said, I expect Amendment One to lose by 60% or more.

President Barack Obama recorded robocalls endorsing a number of Georgia state legislators.

President Barack Obama endorsed a West Georgia state lawmaker for re-election Thursday, reportedly as part of his first public backing of state legislative candidates in his eight-year presidency.

District 66 State Rep. Kimberly Alexander, D-Hiram, received the endorsement of her bid for re-election against challenger Bruce Emory of Douglasville. District 66 includes central Douglas County and southeast Paulding County.

Other Georgia House candidates endorsed by Obama include challengers Donna McLeod, District 105; Bill McGowen, District 138; Floyd Griffin, District 145; Kenneth Zachary Jr., District 151; Tommy Hill, District 173; and Erick Allen, District 40; and incumbents Taylor Bennett, District 80; Scott Holcomb, District 81; and Pedro “Pete” Marin, District 96.

News reports said it was the first time Obama has endorsed candidates on the state legislative level since his election in 2008.

Georgia Democrats are also working a Get Out the Vote campaign across the state.

Executive Director Rebecca DeHart said the party has 13 offices open across the state with 60 paid staffers. More than 2,600 volunteers have worked shifts to make 420,000 phone calls and knock on more than 95,000 doors. The party has also mailed 472,000 absentee ballot request forms directly to “lower-propensity” voters in a new effort to make casting a ballot as simple as possible.

Now, House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, said, their mission is different.

“The focus now is going to shift from those who early-voted to those who indicated they want to vote but haven’t yet planned to vote on Tuesday,” she said. “We’ll be encouraging people to make plans. The more certain they are about voting the better we’re going to feel about Tuesday.”

[T]he party has tapped U.S. Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson, former U.S. Rep. John Barrow, the Rev. Raphael Warnock of Atlanta’s Ebeneezer Baptist Church, Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson, D-Tucker, Abrams and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin to hit the road for events across the state.

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter, too, is barnstorming across South Georgia. In Albany, Carter praised Clinton as a fellow mother.

The Gwinnett Daily Post looks at local legislative races in the county.

Of all of the legislative races taking place in the county this week, however, none may have gotten the attention of both parties quite as much as the House District 105 race between Rep. Joyce Chandler, R-Grayson, and Donna McLeod.

Chandler narrowly won re-election two years ago with just over 52 percent of the vote. Since then, the Republican-controlled General Assembly redrew the lines for Chandler’s district, a move that McLeod argues was done to to ensure the seat stayed in Republican hands. Republican candidates from across the state have also poured money into Chandler’s campaign.

Chandler, a retired educator, explained to the Daily Post earlier this year that she is running for re-election because she wants to continue serving as voice for residents of her district.

“As their representative, I am to be their voice at the Capitol and to help them with state matters of concern,” she explained during the primary election season. “We actually tally the phone calls and email messages regarding various issues, and I vote accordingly. I pledge to always do so unless it is an ethical or moral issue, and then I must vote my conscience.”

Another race where Democrats are buzzing about their candidate is the House District 102 race where Rep. Valerie Clark, R-Lawrenceville, faces a challenge from attorney Sam Park.

It’s been four years since Clark faced a Democrat, having won the last challenge in 2012 with just over 56 percent of the vote. The retired educator and former Central Gwinnett High School principal was elected to the House in 2010 when she defeated then-incumbent Rep. Lee Thompson, a Democrat.

If I still lived in Gwinnett County, I would happily vote for either Joyce Chandler or Valerie Clark for their leadership on education issues.

Gwinnett County voters will see a long ballot and possible lines to vote tomorrow.

What’s up for grabs on election day? A lot, and not just in Gwinnett County. Voters will decide the fate on a range of issues from the county’s proposed SPLOST to who will occupy the White House for the next four years.

“It is a long ballot and, because of the interest, people should be prepared for there to be a little bit of a line,” Gwinnett Elections Director Lynn Ledford said earlier this week. “I wouldn’t say much (of a wait), but it could be as much as 20-30 or maybe even 45 minutes depending on how big the precinct is and the time of day.

“Early morning, lunch and late afternoon are going to be the heaviest times.”

Gwinnett voters have already turned out in droves for early voting in this election, breaking the county’s early turnout record from 2008 last Tuesday. Local early voting sites reported long lines, ranging from one to two hours before the polls closed on Friday night.

In all, Sorenson said 150,367 votes were cast in-person in Gwinnett during the three-week early voting period. Another 14,244 absentee by mail ballots had been returned to the county (out of 22,646 issued) as of Thursday. Sorenson added that 397 of the 959 military and overseas electronic ballots that had been issued had been filled out and returned.

The Savannah Morning News looks at the E-SPLOST vote Chatham County voters will see on their ballots.

Butts County voters will decide on an E-SPLOST in March 2017.



Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 4, 2016


Bing is an adult male Chihuahua & Pomeranian Mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Houston County, Inc in Warner Robins, GA.


Sophie is a small, adult female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Houston County, Inc in Warner Robins, GA.


Ginger is an adult female Dachshund who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Houston County, Inc in Warner Robins, GA.


Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 4, 2016

Peter Early was sworn in as Governor of Georgia on November 5, 1813 after being elected by the Georgia General Assembly.

John Clark was sworn in to the first of two two-year terms on November 5, 1819, again after election by the legislature.

Howell Cobb, who previously served as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, was sworn in as Governor of Georgia on November 5, 1852, having been elected by popular vote.

Abraham Lincoln was elected 16th President of the United States and the first Republican to hold the office on November 6, 1860. By his inauguration in March, seven states had seceded.

On November 6, 1861, one year after Lincoln’s election, Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens of Georgia were elected President and Vice President of the Confederate States of America.

Alexander Stephens was sworn-in as Governor of Georgia on November 4, 1882; Stephens had earlier been elected Vice-President of the Confederate States of America.

President Teddy Roosevelt left for a 17-day trip to Panama on November 6, 1906 to inspect work on the Panama Canal; he was the first President to take an official tour outside the continental United States.

Democrat Woodrow Wilson, who spent part of his youth in Augusta, Georgia and married Ellen Louise Axson, whom he met in Rome, Georgia, was elected President in a landslide victory on November 5, 1912.

Howard Carter found an entrance to the tomb of King Tutankhamen on November 4, 1922.

On November 4, 1932 Georgia Governor Richard B. Russell, Jr. campaigned on behalf of Democratic candidate for President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to his unprecedented third term as President of the United States on November 5, 1940.

Richard M. Nixon was elected President of the United States by a plurality vote on November 5, 1968.

A dam on the campus of Toccoa Falls Bible College burst on November 6, 1977 under pressure from heavy rains, killing 39 students and faculty.

On November 4, 1980, Republican Ronald Reagan was elected President, winning 489 electoral votes to 49 for incumbent Jimmy Carter.

Note on the electoral map in that clip, states that Reagan won were colored blue, and Georgia was a red state, going for Jimmy Carter.

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Newt Gingrich (R-GA) resigned his office and his Congressional seat on November 6, 1998, effective in January 1999, despite having been reelected three days earlier.

On November 5, 2002, Sonny Perdue was elected the first Republican Governor of Georgia since Reconstruction, beginning the modern era of Republican dominance of Georgia state politics.

On November 7, 2006, Georgia reelected its first Republican Governor since Reconstruction, Sonny Perdue, and elected its first GOP Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagle.

On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected President, becoming the first African-American elected to the position.

Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Wearing a campaign shirt may get you bounced from your voting precinct, and stickers on your car may require you to park further away from the building in which you vote under Georgia election rules.

There is a lot to keep in mind before you go vote. Things like campaign bumper stickers on your car are prohibited, and you will need to keep your car 150 feet away from the polling location if you have any campaign items on the vehicle. If it is any closer then it will be considered campaigning which is not legal.

Also, there have been problems that have come up concerning people coming into a polling location in Chatham County with t-shirts on promoting their candidate. This is not allowed, if you are wearing something of this nature, whether it be a button, hat, or any other paraphernalia, you will have to take it off or cover it up before coming within 150 feet of the polling location.

And there is should be no handing out of campaign literature, and that includes pamphlets, signs, and etc., within the 150 feet. Handing out snacks, food or drinks to individuals at polling places is highly discouraged as well.

Other things to keep in mind are you cannot bring your cell phone into the precinct, you are not supposed to talk in the polling location unless you have a problem, and you cannot hang out at poll after you vote.

I’ve never heard that you can’t take a cell phone into the precinct.

Georgia Code §21-2-413(e) states,

No elector shall use photographic or other electronic monitoring or recording devices or cellular telephones while such elector is within the enclosed space in a polling place.

And §21-2-414(c) states,

No person shall use a cellular telephone or other electronic communication device once such person has been issued a ballot or, in the case of precincts using voting machines or electronic recording voting systems, once the person has entered the voting machine or voting enclosure or booth. This subsection shall not prohibit the use of cellular telephones by poll officials.

So, I’m certain you can take your cell phone into the precinct, you just can’t use it once you have been issued a ballot or have entered the voting machine area.

In DeKalb County, having a fussy baby got one mother bounced from advance voting.

Between 4-year-old Maggie, 2-year-old Casey and newborn Audrey, [Jennifer] Fair has a lot to juggle, which is why she went to downtown Decatur Thursday morning to cast her presidential election ballot early and avoid the crowds. But even though she was in sight of an empty voting machine, Fair left without casting her ballot.

Why? Blame 2-year-old Casey. That’s what DeKalb County did.

Fair had filled out her paperwork and handed over her driver’s license, completing the various hoops we all have to go through to vote these days. There were about five other people casting their ballots and machines were available. But the poll manager told Fair she would have to leave and come back when Casey was calm.

DeKalb County Elections Director Maxine Daniels said she looked into it and said she was told Casey was quite loud.

“Many of the other voters at the precinct were turning around at the booths and it was distracting them,” she said. Regardless, Daniels said Fair wasn’t prevented from voting, per se.

“She was told to take the child out and have the child calm down and she could come back,” she said.

Macon-Bibb County has rejected a number of mail-in absentee ballots for problems with the paper forms.

As of this week, about 175 voters had their initial absentee ballots not counted, although in some cases they later voted in person or requested a new ballot. At least 48 of them had their ballots rejected for not signing an oath, some of whom are unaware their votes were not cast.

People can apply for absentee ballots through Friday, but that will be “cutting it close,” since the ballots have to be returned to the elections office by Tuesday evening, Macon-Bibb Elections Superintendent Jeanetta Watson said.

It’s common for a batch of absentee ballots to be rejected, she said.

When an absentee ballot is not counted, then that registered voter has to restart the process of applying for a ballot. A letter is sent to those registered voters letting them know of the situation.

“What happens is we check the signature when it returns,” Watson said. “We can’t just open the ballot. They have to sign the outside of the ballot and verify that’s the person asking for the ballot.”

As of this week, about 175 voters had their initial absentee ballots not counted, although in some cases they later voted in person or requested a new ballot. At least 48 of them had their ballots rejected for not signing an oath, some of whom are unaware their votes were not cast.

People can apply for absentee ballots through Friday, but that will be “cutting it close,” since the ballots have to be returned to the elections office by Tuesday evening, Macon-Bibb Elections Superintendent Jeanetta Watson said.

Mark Niesse of the AJC looks at why it takes so long to count ballots on election night.

It’s because some of the votes — absentee ballots — are counted by hand, and even digital ballots must be delivered in-person to central election offices.

“Even though it’s on electronic ballots, you still have to go through the process of checks and balances,” said Michael Barnes, director for The Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University. “If the voters know the results before they go to bed, it’s been a good election.”

Because of concerns about hacking, ballots are stored on 48 megabyte rectangular memory cards — one for each of the 27,000 electronic voting machines across the state. These memory cards are different from the yellow cards given to voters, which contain a code that tells the voting machine to display the ballot but don’t store any vote information.

When polls close on Election Day, poll workers shut down each electronic voting machine and verify that three numbers match: the paper certificates voters fill out when they arrive, the electronic list of voters and the total ballots recorded by the machines manufactured by Diebold Election Systems.

The memory cards at each precinct are sealed in a bag, then driven from precincts to county election offices.

Once election officials have the memory cards in hand, they load them into a computer that counts every race.

Absentee voting by mail usually causes the most significant delays. Why? Because it’s done on paper ballots.

One at a time, these ballots are fed into optical scanning machines, a tedious effort that takes many hours, even with numerous scanners and election workers whittling down the piles.

“The whole process is more labor intensive,” said Cobb County Elections Director Janine Eveler. “We don’t expect to be finished until sometime in the wee hours of the night.”

Chatham County processed more than 1400 new voter registrations during the extended voter registration period.

A federal judge had ordered the county to reopen registration after voting rights advocates argued that the storm —including a mandatory evacuation and related power outages —had prevented would-be voters from signing up. Local government offices were closed in Chatham for what would have been the last six days of the voter registration period that ended Oct. 11.

Cobb County set a new record for most advance votes cast in a single day on Wednesday.

A total of 18,957 people turned up at Cobb’s polling places on Wednesday, marking the highest single-day turnout in the history of early voting in the county.

The previous high-water mark came on the final day of early voting in the 2012 election when 18,414 votes were cast in person.

Wednesday’s record may not last for long, however. Janine Eveler, director of Cobb elections, predicted that turnout would be higher on Thursday — statistics for which were not available by press time — and that today would see a greater number still.

Indeed, eight of the county’s 11 polling places showed wait times of at least an hour at 2 p.m. Thursday, according to the Cobb Elections’ website. NorthStar Church on Blue Springs Road — situated about midway between Kennesaw and Acworth off Cobb Parkway — had estimated wait times of two to three hours.

In addition to the in-person votes, a total of 17,395 mail-in ballots had been returned to the county’s elections office by the end of the day Wednesday, according to Cobb Elections.

Chatham County voters are packing early voting facilities, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Sabrina German, interim director of Voter Registration, said Thursday 27,347 early votes had been cast by the end of the day Wednesday.

Charles Brown, who has been assisting at polling centers every election since 2012, says this is the most people he has seen show up to cast their ballots during early voting. Around noon Wednesday the line of voters had two sides of the Chatham County Citizens Service Center. According to Brown, that line was nothing compared to a few days earlier.

“The line went all the way to Eisenhower Drive Saturday,” Brown said.

Citizens are taking this election seriously in showing up to the polls, but there are still some concerns about preparation. Brown urges future voters to read the sample ballots before coming to the polls.

Residents 75 or older or those who are disabled can move to the front of voting lines. Also, voters can request an absentee ballot through Friday.

Thomas County has seen vigorous absentee and advance voting.

Thomas County Elections Supervisor Frank Scoggins said 8,500 early votes have been cast as of Wednesday afternoon.

The biggest spike in early voting was between Oct. 24 and Oct. 30, according to Scoggins.

The largest early voter turnout was Oct. 28, Scoggins said.

Along with the early voting numbers, over 1,000 absentee ballots have been cast.

According to Scoggins, all absentee ballots by mail must be returned to the elections office by the end of Election Day, on Nov. 8.

Garden City voters will decide whether to allow package alcohol sales in Tuesday’s election.

According to a sample ballot from the Chatham County Board of Elections, the referendum reads: “Shall the governing authority of Garden City, Georgia be authorized to permit and regulate package sales by retailers of malt beverages, wine, and distilled spirits on Sunday between the hours of 12:30 P.M. and 11:30 P.M.?”

Garden City council members in May approved putting the measure before the voters this year in an effort to attract new grocery stores to the city, according to Mayor Don Bethune.

Bethune said this week that it’s actually the second time the city has held a vote on Sunday alcohol sales. During the first referendum a few years back, the city voted along with the rest of Chatham’s municipalities on the measure, but turned it down. The mayor said that although he was one of the opponents of Sunday sales when it first went before the voters, he’ll support it this time.

“The fact is, everybody around us can sell beer and wine on Sundays, and in Garden City they cannot. … I don’t see the big difference in the fact that a person can’t buy it in our city and they can drive a mile down the road and buy it there. I will vote for it, because while I personally don’t condone it and I personally don’t do it, I need to do everything I can to get a grocery store in Garden City.” [said Bethune]

Marietta voters will see a non-binding referendum question about whether to term-limit members of City Council and the Mayor.

Democratic Senate candidate Jim Barksdale took his Tour de Lusion to Athens.

“We’re closing the gap every day,” Barksdale said in an interview just prior to his meeting at the Hi-Lo with local campaign workers and supporters. “I think people are getting to know me better.”

Barksdale touted the fact some polls have shown Isakson below the 50-percent-plus-one that he would need to avoid a runoff. One recent poll had Buckley at 11 percent, which could make him a spoiler in the race and send Barksdale and Isakson into a runoff that wouldn’t be held until Jan. 10 of next year.

Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds spoke to the MDJ about Amendment Two, the Safe Harbor Amendment.

Amendment 2 on the ballot, if approved by a majority of the voters, would require defendants found guilty of such crimes to pay an additional $2,500 fine on top of any prison time and other existing fines. The constitutional amendment has the approval of Vic Reynolds, Cobb’s district attorney.

“The very individuals who commit these crimes, the individuals who traffic women, who traffic young individuals both male and female, who take advantage of these people, who physically, sexually, mentally abuse them to the point where they become the victims of human trafficking and sexual crime, those are the very individuals who ought to pay for the victims’ getting rehabilitation,” Reynolds said.

While Reynolds said Cobb has no establishments that would be affected by the approved amendment, he said Cobb would likely be a recipient of monies from the fund.

“We will have victims from this county who absolutely will qualify for using that money to get services to help them get over any damage that was done to them,” Reynolds said. “If we have one human trafficking victim in this county, it’s one too many. But even the numbers I see up here, we certainly have more than that. We’re working a number of active cases, we’re prosecuting a number of active cases.”

The Georgia State Board of Education has recommended the removal of all five members of the Dooly County Board of Education.

The state’s top education panel made the decision in a unanimous voice vote Thursday night at its office in Atlanta.

“In the opinion of the board, it came down to governance,” said Georgia Board of Education Chairman Mike Royal.

The state school board’s recommendation now heads to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who will decide whether to remove any or all of the board members.

Much of the seven hours of testimony focused on the lower-than-average scores accreditation agency AdvancED gave Dooly schools on governance and leadership.

In July 2015, AdvancED sent the Dooly County school system a letter indicating that the system had been put “under review,” which is the last step before losing accreditation. That downgrade is part of what triggered the state hearing.

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle spoke to the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce pre-legislative breakfast.

Health care, education and transportation infrastructure will be key areas of focus in the upcoming Georgia legislative session, according to lawmakers at the annual Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Pre-Legislative Breakfast.

Georgia’s Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle was the keynote speaker and elaborated on the importance of an educated workforce.

“Just last year we commissioned a study, last year there were 20,000 jobs that were available in the state of Georgia, in the health care sector that required a two-year degree, we only graduated 5,000 individuals to fill those positions,” Cagle said. “We graduated 6,000associate degree individuals with a liberal arts degree and of those 6,000 there were 500 jobs available. The point I make is that we have to go make sure that we are aligning education with the workforce.”

Cagle also addressed plans to implement new health care legislation recently passed in the last session called 180 Health Care.

“It’s a tax credit that really allows individuals like you, as well as this is across our state, to make contributions to these little hospitals,” Cagle said. “We believe this can help structure the right kind of future for many of our rural hospitals across our state.”

House District 121 Rep. Barry Fleming also addressed health care and spoke about his plans to address flaws in the current Certificate of Need process that he said is keeping the state’s largest county without a hospital from acquiring one.

“Our county commissioners, led by chairman Ron Cross, had a good idea. They recognized Columbia County was the largest county in the state of Georgia, almost 150,000 people now, without a hospital. So they put it on the ballot and the voters approved the use of potentially millions of dollars to help bring a hospital to Columbia County, right there where Mayor (Gary) Jones is in Grovetown,” Fleming said. “The commission approved it, the voters approved it, it went to Atlanta, where the state agencies that regulate the Certificate of Need approved it and now a lawsuit is keeping the largest county in the state without a hospital from getting one.”

Another focus area, Fleming said, will be gambling and casinos in Georgia to fund the HOPE scholarship.

Georgia’s Rural Hospital Tax Credit was also discussed at the Bainbridge Rotary.

Memorial Hospital and Manor CEO Billy Walker explained the program at Rotary this week.

He said that individual taxpayers can receive a tax credit against Georgia income taxes for contributions made to a qualified rural hospital organization of 70 percent of the amount contributed, or $2,500 per tax year. Married filing jointly, taxpayers can receive a tax credit of 70 percent of the amount contributed, or $5,000 per tax year, whichever is less.

In order to qualify, a hospital must be in a community with a population under 35,000, providing patient services, participating in Medicaid and Medicare, and submit a five-year plan that details their financial viability and stability, including a narrative of the challenges they face and how they will use contributions to address them.

Walker said Memorial Hospital is one of 49 hospitals in the state that has been identified as qualified to participate in the program.

He said the cap on what each hospital can receive from the tax credits each year is $4 million each calendar year. The bill requires hospitals to use donations for the provision of health-care related services. Those uses include, operating expenses, payments on short-term or long-term debt, purchase of capital equipment, renovations or improvements to healthcare facilities, etc. etc.

The Georgia State Commission on Petroleum Pipelines held a public hearing in Evans.

Commission co-chairman Rep. Bill Hitchens, of Rincon,said the commission was formed this year after a judgment halted a controversial pipeline project by the Kinder Morgan company along the Savannah River

After the moratorium Gov. Nathan Deal established the pipeline commission made up of three House of Representative members, including local House District 121 Rep. Barry Fleming; three Senate members; the director of the Environmental Protection Division; a member of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs; and five other members each representing industry, local government, business, agriculture and conservation.

Hitchens said it was not the first time such a commission had been assembled, citing a similar circumstance in the early 1990s involving a pecan farmer from Peach County .

Hitchens said the commission has until July 1, 2017, to work up new legislation to present to the General Assembly.

Gwinnett County courts are rolling out text notifications to notify residents about jury duty selection.

County officials are launching a new text-based notification system for potential jurors with TextGov LLC. Residents will receive a text message to let them know they have jury duty coming up. The county will also send jurors nightly text messages during their week of service to let them know whether or not they need to come to the courthouse the next day.

“Jurors have been asking for an easier, more convenient way to get their juror status,” Gwinnett County Courts Jury Manager Abby Carter. “With our new text messaging system, jurors receive proactive text messages without having to call or check the website – and they love it.”

The text-based service is intended to be a supplement to existing web and IVR-based systems that are already used to let jurors know when they need to be at the courthouse.

Bill O’Reilly of Fox News will speak at the Georgia Christian School dinner in Valdosta tonight.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 3, 2016


Shine is a young female Terrier/Feist mix who weighs 23 pounds and is available for adoption from Save A Pet, Inc. in Forsyth, GA.

She probably will not get any bigger. This high spirited dog is about a year old and will need regular walks to get her exercise. Shine will keep herself occupied with any kind of chew toy. She loves to play “fake” fetch with balls – she will chase it, run back to you, then “psych” – she runs the other way. Shine thinks this is just hilarious! She will do well in a single-dog, energetic household. Won’t you give Shine the chance to know what it feels like to have a loving home?


Macy is a young female Boxer/Lab mix who weighs 20 pounds and is available for adoption from Save A Pet Inc in Forsyth, GA.

Macy has learned to walk well on a leash. She would like very much to be babied and thinks she’s a lap dog. She enjoys playing tug of war, chasing tennis balls and would do anything to please. Sweet, happy Macy just wants to be loved and find her forever home!


Buddy is a 2-year old male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, GA. He is a sweet and submissive boy, good with other dogs.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 3, 2016

John Willis Menard became the first black man elected to Congress on November 3, 1868 from the Second District of Louisiana. Menard’s election opponent challenged the results and prevented Menard from taking his seat, though in defense of his election Menard became the first black man to address Congress.

On November 3, 1913, details of the federal income tax were finalized and published after the ratification earlier in the year of the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Bacon, Barrow, Candler, and Evans Counties were created on November 3, 1914 when voters approved Constitutional Amendments – prior to these Amendments, Georgia was limited to 145 counties. On the same day, Carl Vinson was elected to Congress from Georgia, becoming the youngest member of Congress at the time. Vinson would eventually become the first Member of Congress to serve more than fifty years. Vinson’s grandson, Sam Nunn would serve in the United States Senate.

The Chicago Tribune published the infamous “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline on November 3, 1948. Ultimately, Democrat Truman won 303 electoral votes to 189 for Republican Dewey.

Laika, a female Siberian Husky mix who was found stray on the streets of Moscow, was launched into space aboard Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957.

On November 3, 1968, Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson was elected President over Republican Barry Goldwater.

On November 3, 1970, Jimmy Carter was elected Governor of Georgia.

Democrat Cynthia McKinney became the first African-Amercian female elected to Congress from Georgia on November 3, 1992.

On November 3, 1998, Democrat Thurbert Baker was elected Attorney General and Michael Thurmond was elected Commissioner of Labor, becoming the first African-Americans elected to statewide executive office in Georgia.

One World Trade Center opened on November 3, 2014, more than thirteen years after the 9/11 attacks.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The mighty Berkmar High School celebrates its 50th Anniversary this week.

It’s scheduled for 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 5 and includes food prepared by culinary arts students, music from fine arts students and student-led tours of the school. Berkmar memorabilia from across the decades will be on display. At 3:45 p.m. a program will begin in the theater with videos and a number distinguished guest speakers, including community leaders and alumni, who will reflect on the school’s community and students over the years.

Lilburn Mayor Johnny Crist will read a proclamation at the event declaring the date Berkmar High School Day in honor of its 50th year.

The school was formed from the consolidation of Lilburn and Bethesda high schools, and the name came from the combining of two voting districts, Berkshire and Martins. Lilburn and Bethesda were the last of 10 high schools to be consolidated in Gwinnett. Since there was such great rivalry, it took several years to agree upon a name and a location for the new high school.

The first enrollment was 425 students from eighth-grade through 12th grade. This school year, it has 2,951 students.

Site Selection magazine has named Georgia the number one state in which to do business for the fourth year in a row, according to a press release by Gov. Nathan Deal.

For a remarkable fourth time in a row, Georgia has once again been named the top state in nation in which to do business, highlighting the vitality of our state economy and the business-friendly environment that continues to help companies grow,” said Deal. “The collaborative framework on both state and local levels has led to the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs for Georgia families, enhanced community outreach by investing millions in local areas and improved the overall quality of life for all citizens. In the last four years, many small businesses have expanded in Georgia and numerous international companies have established operations here, reflecting the foundation offered to job creators. Georgia leads the way in providing companies with a low tax burden and a business-friendly climate. In return, there have been more than 575,000 private sector jobs created since 2011. This recognition for our statewide economic development is a testament to the unwavering commitment displayed by our industry leaders, community partners and the people of Georgia.”

“Georgia’s fourth consecutive top state business climate ranking is based on where corporate expansion projects are occurring and where investors say they want to commit their capital for the long term,” said Mark Arend, editor-in-chief of Site Selection. “Our readers say the state’s fiscal soundness, predictable economic and regulatory climate, workforce and transportation infrastructure are their main reasons for investing in Georgia.”

“Site Selection’s fourth consecutive No. 1 ranking speaks volumes to our business-friendly environment, world-class infrastructure network, top-notch academic institutions, nationally-ranked training programs and vibrant socioeconomic culture,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Governor Deal made Georgia a state with a reputation for success, which we celebrate today with our economic development partners across the state.”

Amendment One, the Opportunity School District Amendment may not be sunk, but it appears to be taking on water.

A pro-Amendment 1 group responsible for spending tens of thousands of dollars on Georgia TV stations since September has cancelled all air time outside metro Atlanta, and curtailed its spending within the metro Atlanta market.

The group, which has made its purchases under the name of “Opportunity for All Georgia Students,” had cancelled – as of Tuesday – TV ads scheduled for airing by the top TV stations in Columbus, Augusta, Savannah, Albany, and Macon.

Atlanta television stations may be the biggest losers in Georgia this year, with Presidential campaigns bypassing the pricy media market.

Clinton has spent more than $3 million on television ads in Florida, compared with a $100,000 Georgia buy in September.Clinton may be spending pennies in Georgia compared with other swing states, but Tharon Johnson, a top Democratic operative in Georgia who helped lead Obama’s 2012 campaign in the South, sees this year’s numbers as encouraging news for Democrats in Georgia.

An uptick in presidential spending in Georgia is notable, he said, since for years the state was deemed so safely in control by the GOP that neither side found it worthwhile to spend money here.

“This is the process that a battleground state goes through when they’re shifting from being red to purple, which means that it’s a cognitive growing process in resources,” Johnson said.

The Trump campaign, meanwhile, has only spent about 12 percent of what Clinton has here ahead of Tuesday’s election, or $233,000 — not even enough to buy him a house in many corners of Atlanta. And his two joint fundraising committees with the Republican National Committee have not spent any money in Georgia in anticipation of the election.

The Cherokee County Republican Party voted to oppose Amendment One, according to the group’s Facebook page, where you can view the full text of the resolution.

Holly Springs voters will elect a new Mayor as Tim Downing is not running for reelection.

At the municipal level, Holly Springs will see a new mayor elected for the first time in more than a decade, with candidates Steve Miller and Jim Laughlin vying to fill the seat of outgoing Mayor Tim Downing.

What has been a relatively quiet campaign season so far is heating up, with an ethics complaint filed Monday against Miller alleging the candidate incorrectly filled out his campaign disclosures.

That complaint, however, will not be reviewed until after the General Election, an official with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission said Tuesday.

The complaint, was mailed to the commission Oct. 26 by Holly Springs resident Debbie Proctor.

In the complaint Proctor alleges Miller failed to list the occupation and employer of donors who gave more than $100 to his campaign efforts in his June disclosure. The complaint also says Miller failed to list his purchase of yard signs on the campaign expenditures portion of his disclosure forms.`

State Rep. Andy Welch (R-McDonough) writes in favor of Amendment Two in the Newnan Times-Herald.

Earlier this year, the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office participated in Operation Riptide, an undercover investigation coordinated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center and 18 other members of the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Together, they arrested 18 alleged predators, all of whom were accused of targeting at least one minor for purposes none of us want to imagine.

As a community, we should be grateful for the efforts made by law enforcement agencies in Coweta and across the state to stop the unspeakable crimes of child trafficking and exploitation. We should also come together to assist the young victims whose innocence has been forever lost and who too often have no place to turn.

These are the children sitting in our schools, playing in our neighborhoods and sitting next to us in church. They are boys and girls, black and white, wealthy and poor. They have one thing in common – they have been tricked or coerced into circumstances that have drastically changed their lives.

This November, on the general election ballot, we have the opportunity to ensure that these children – with an average age of only 13 – have access to the care and support they need to move forward and rebuild a normal life.

Those who oppose this amendment either do not believe that funding should be dedicated or they disagree with placing a fee on any particular industry. The fact is that if funds are not dedicated they are vulnerable each year to shifting priorities and political agendas. Ten hours of testimony and debate considered by House and Senate committees revealed that pimps use these venues to market their human commodities – which at times includes children.

No child chooses to be trafficked or sexually exploited. They grow up with very different dreams about what life is going to be like and have ended up in the middle of a nightmare. Voting yes on Amendment 2 will give them their dreams and their life back. We owe them that chance.

Henry County has avoided stories of vote-flipping machines in early voting.

“If units are calibrated correctly, there shouldn’t be any issues,” she said.

She did, however, note that one voter with longer fingernails complained of voting issues and said issues can often occur with voters who rest other fingers on the touch-screen voting machines.

Early voting will continue at five locations throughout Henry County through Friday. Election day is Tuesday.

Newnan County has not been so fortunate, with the Secretary of State’s office opening an investigation after a voter complaint.

More than 25,000 Cowetans have already cast their votes for the presidential and general election.

One of those voters allegedly had issues having the electronic voting machines properly record a vote, and the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office has opened an investigation into the problem.

Coweta Elections Superintendent Jane Scoggins said no claims of anyone having problems were reported to poll workers or poll managers at Coweta’s two early voting locations. She said the first inkling she had of the state investigation was when a reporter contacted her Wednesday, after the investigation was mentioned in an online Atlanta Journal-Constitution article.

She did receive a call later in the day about the investigation. Scoggins said the investigator she talked to told her that the problem wasn’t reported by the affected voter, but by a third party.

The investigation was opened on Wednesday after receiving a complaint, said Candice Broce, press secretary for Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

“It appears that it was someone who had difficulty making selections on the voting machine,” she said.

Broce said that the office had received similar complaints in three other counties, and opened investigations in all of them. Last week, the office investigated problems in Bryan County. It was determined that Bryan County officials did not properly test the machine.

The AJC notes additional complaints about voting procedures.

The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it has opened investigations into four additional counties including Baldwin, Clayton, Cobb and Coweta. In each instance, the office received notice from state Democratic officials of an individual voter in each of those counties who reported a problem with an individual machine. Officials removed a machine in Bryan County last week after the AJC reported a similar problem, and that original investigation remains open.

Congressman John Lewis traveled to Florida to campaign with Hillary Clinton.

On Tuesday, [Clinton] traveled with Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights hero, who reminded Clinton supporters of the struggle to secure the right to vote. And on Wednesday morning, she stopped at an early voting state in a largely Caribbean-American neighborhood.

“We must get out and vote like we’ve never voted before,” Lewis told a crowd of about 4,000 people in Ft. Lauderdale. “Don’t let anyone keep you home.”

The Georgia Court of Appeals sided with former Snellville Mayor Kelly Kautz in a dispute with the city over attorney fees.

The legal battle between Kautz and the city over the fees stretch well over a year, to when she was still Snellville’s mayor. Kautz had taken the city council to court over the powers of the mayor versus the powers of the council, and the suit ended in a settlement.

That set up the legal battle over the attorney fees. A Gwinnett County superior Court judge sided with Kautz last year, awarding her $88,000 in attorney fees. City officials have been fighting it since then, arguing they shouldn’t have to pay the fees because it ended in a settlement and they felt that meant she didn’t win.

“The city has not cited any applicable authority, nor have we found any on point, suggesting that Kautz was not successful in asserting her position because she obtained relief by virtue of a settlement agreement instead of from a jury or the court,” the appeals court judges wrote in their decision …

“We note that, generally, one may be considered to have prevailed on a claim, even though a case has settled, when the court can deduce from the settlement agreement that the party obtained the relief sought.”

Grantville City Council member David Riley has resigned due to moving outside the city.

City Manager Al Grieshaber said it is his understanding that the council will appoint someone to fill his remaining term and that is his recommendation for the item to be discussed at the next council meeting on Monday, Nov. 14. Whether or not any action is taken is up to the council.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 2, 2016


Bella is a 7-year old, 60-pound female Boxer who is available for adoption from Pup & Cat Co. in Winder, GA.

Bella is sweet and cuddly and laid back. She does best with older children because the little ones make her nervous. Bella is housebroken and crate trained and just a little choosy who she wants as her doggie friends so would be happiest as the one and only dog in her life and yours.


Raven is a 7-8 month old, 45-pound female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Pup & Cat Co. in Winder, GA.

This pretty little lab mix is sweet and fun….after all she is still considered to be a pup. She loves other dogs, gets along with cats and is good with kids too respectful of her. Because she is still a pup she has lots of energy to let loose and like playing and romping in the yard. Raven is housebroken and crate trained and would make a great companion and family pet.


Appollo is an adult male Great Dane who is available for adoption from Pup & Cat Co. in Winder, GA.

Appollo is an exquisite boy, coloring and markings just beautiful with hazel eyes….described as Marlaquin Dane. This guy is gorgeous, sweet and likes to be protective as well. He is housebroken, gets along with other dogs and loves to play with them and is easily told who is the boss, and it’s not him.

He would be best in a family with no small children because of his size and he tendency to want to be in control. Adults taking the alpha position have no trouble with this boy. Appollo has some obedience training and knows some commands, which is very important for a dog of his size. He will make a great companion. Best if you have knowledge of the breed.


Georgia Politics, Campaign, and Elections for November 2, 2016

Richard B. Russell, Jr. was born in Winder, Georgia on November 2, 1897.

In 1927, at age 29, Russell was named Speaker of the House – the youngest in Georgia history. In 1930, Russell easily won election as Georgia governor on his platform of reorganizing state government for economy and efficiency. Five months shy of his 34th birthday, Russell took the oath of office from his father, Georgia chief justice Richard B. Russell Sr. He became the youngest governor in Georgia history – a record that still stands. After Georgia U.S. Senator William Harris died in 1932, Gov. Russell named an interim replacement until the next general election, in which Russell himself became a candidate. Georgia voters elected their young governor to fill Harris’ unexpired term. When he arrived in Washington in January 1933, he was the nation’s youngest senator.

Russell had a long and storied career in the United States Senate, during which he served for many years as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, unofficial leader of the conservative Southern wing of the Democratic party and a chief architect of resistance to civil rights legislation. He also ran for President in 1952, winning the Florida primary.

Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States on November 2, 1976.

The current Georgia Constitution was ratified on November 2, 1982 by the state’s voters.

On November 2, 2010, voters elected Republican Nathan Deal as Governor, and the GOP swept all of the statewide offices on the ballot.

Georgia Politics, Campaign, and Elections

Early/Absentee information

I’ve had several questions about early and absentee voting procedures, so I asked Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who said,

“A voter cannot change their vote after an absentee ballot has been mailed in. However, a voter who has requested an absentee ballot can still vote in person if they either surrender the absentee ballot or request to have it canceled when they check in at the polls.”

Dougherty County Morningside Elementary School students voted in a mock election, but results were not released.

“The students are well aware of who the candidates are and the issues that they stand on,” said Sherrie Hubbard.

Instructional Coach Sherrie Hubbard believes the mock election has had an effect on kindergarten students who are just learning about the process as well as fifth graders who may have already formed opinions.

The social studies curriculum coordinator, Jesse Jackson Jr., said the mock election serves to teach students about the bigger picture – to make good citizens.

“What we are doing here today is showing the political process in which America is built upon. It doesn’t matter who you vote for as long as you vote,’ said Jackson.

They also voted on a special amendment that would affect them directly, to wear jeans on Fridays instead of their school uniforms.

I like that they included an amendment in the balloting, as constitutional amendments and referendums often get short shrift in media coverage of campaigns.

Lenox, Georgia residents came together to pray for our country.

As the divisive campaign season winds down, people gathered Tuesday in Lenox in hopes of finding unity and guidance.

“It’s your choice to make,” organizer Brad McVea said. “You’ve got to be able to look for yourself and see where the candidates line up to God’s word.”

To help those on that quest, churches of different denominations came together. They prayed for the success of local to federal governments asking how they should cast their ballot.

“Sometimes, we might not know who to choose,” Church leader Jerry Lewis said. “So, we would pray and ask the Lord to put who he knows would do the best job in the position. “

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens reminds us that the change from Daylight Savings Time is a great time to change our smoke alarm batteries. We also have a carbon monoxide alarm and will change that battery too.

Daylight Savings Time ends Nov. 6 at 2 a.m. when clocks are set back one hour.

“If you have a smoke alarm, make sure it’s in working order. Changing the battery at least once every year and cleaning dust from the device is a simple way to ensure continued protection of your family and your property. Having a working smoke alarm doubles the chances you will survive a fire in your home,” Hudgens said in a press release.

Last year in Georgia, there were 82 fatal residential fires which resulted in 101 fire fatalities. Only nine residences had a working smoke alarm. so far in 2016, fires have claimed the lives of 124 Georgians.

Georgia Southern Magazine interviewed two students of differing political backgrounds on the upcoming elections.

African-Americans are turning out at lower levels in Georgia early and advance voting, according to CNN.

A dip in African-American turnout has knocked Democratic early voting numbers off their 2012 pace in key battleground states like North Carolina.

The trend is also evident in early vote data from other swing states that could play key roles in deciding the election, including Florida and Georgia.
About 1.5 million ballots have been cast in Georgia — a 28% increase compared to 2008 and a 32% bump over 2012, when half the state voted early.
The Peach State doesn’t register voters by party, so it’s impossible to know whether more Democrats or Republicans have voted.
But if Clinton is going to pull off the upset here, she’ll need strong turnout from African-Americans — and there are signs that their share of the vote has dropped a bit from where it was at this point in 2012. Black voters made up 36% of Georgia’s early voting population at this stage of the 2012 race, compared to 31% this year.

Amendment Three

Two of the leaders against Constitutional Amendment Three made their case for a No vote on changing the composition of the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

When Georgians head to the polls on November 8, they’ll be faced with more than just a top-of-the-ticket decision between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. At the very bottom of the ballot, Georgia voters have an opportunity to stop an incredibly harmful measure, proposed Constitutional Amendment Number 3, in its tracks—and, in the process, stand up for judicial integrity and accountability across the state.

The outcome of the vote on Amendment 3 will determine the survival of a little known, but critically important state entity known as the Judicial Qualifications Commission (the “JQC”). For more than four decades, the JQC has served as Georgia’s sole judicial watchdog, forcing judges who abuse their power to change their ways or resign from the bench. JQC investigations have uncovered racism, sexism, nepotism and criminal activity in the judiciary branch—and, in turn, the JQC has created a judiciary in Georgia that is fairer and more impartial.

Currently, the JQC’s seven members are selected by the Supreme Court of Georgia and the State Bar, and the membership includes non-lawyer citizen members. However, if Amendment 3 is approved, the power to appoint a majority of members to the JQC would shift to the General Assembly, placing the agency under the thumb of partisan influences in the legislature and stripping it of its independence. In short, Amendment 3 is a blatant political power grab that seeks to politicize Georgia’s judiciary branch in a shocking and dangerous manner.

On Election Day, don’t let the politicians fool you. When you cast your ballot on November 8, stand up for judicial integrity and a court system that is free from partisan influences and political abuses. Vote “no” on Amendment 3 and allow the JQC to continue its work that demonstrates that no one, not even judges, is above the law.

Speaker of the House David Ralston traveled to Albany and made his case for a “Yes” vote on Amendment Three.

Georgia’s Speaker of the House David Ralston wants residents to approve a constitutional amendment that would give him and fellow lawmakers more control over discipline for judges.

Ralston said that it would actually offer more protections for Georgians.

“I don’t think, I don’t think that is the case at all. I mean because, what better accountability for people who have to face the voters every two years? Lawyers don’t run for election to anything,” explained Ralston.

Speaker Ralston also is in the process of settling an issue with the State Bar of Georgia, accepting a mild reprimand for inadvertantly breaking two rules of the State Bar while more serious charges are being dropped.

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 1, 2016


Elsie is a little 12-year old, 25-pound (overweight) female Jack Russell Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, Georgia.

This sweet senior girl was given up by her owners because she barked at night and wandered off occasionally while living outdoors. She deserves a loving retirement home where she can live indoors. She is good with cats, dogs, and children, and does not have a history of biting.


Bear is an awesome-looking little 10-month old 32-pound low-rider puppy who is available for adoption from the Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, Georgia. He comes with a coupon for a free neuter.


Davey is a 5-year old 70-pound male black-and-tan Belgian Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from Save A Pet Inc in Forsyth, GA.

Davey is so quiet you can barely hear this big teddy bear as he walks alongside you. He really enjoys chasing tennis balls! Five-year-old Davey has come a long way in his short amount of training time. He’s gone from circling and pacing to walking in perfect formation on your left, as dogs should. When loose leash walking, he does not pull, and, most importantly, he doesn’t jump on you. Davey knows to come when called, as well as sit and heel. He stands 22 and a half inches tall, from the floor to the shoulder blades. This Belgian shepherd mix is a big, soft cuddle bug. He would make a great pet for a youngster or any individual or family.