Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for October 16, 2012

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for October 16, 2012


Grover is a little 12.4 pound, 3-4 month old puppy who is available for adoption beginning today at Walton County Animal Services.

Jackson is a one-year old, 46 pound male, neutered Retriever mix, who is housebroken and said to be a great indoor dog. He is available for adoption immediately from Walton County Animal Services. As an owner turn-in, he’ll be one of the first euthanized.

Wendy is a beautiful dark-yellow or light-brown retriever mix who is 5-6 months old and 35 pounds who is expected to grow a bit. Super cuddly and sweet and available for adoption beginning Thursday from Walton County Animal Shelter.

These six-month old lab boys will be euthanized before dawn on Friday without a rescue. They are available for local rescue or out-of-state rescue with local foster only from Chatsworth Animal Shelter in Murray County. The boys get along great together. If you’re interested in fostering them, email us and we’ll try to hook you up with a rescue group who will work with you to get them out.

This 7-pound, nine week old puppy will also be euthanized before dawn on Friday unless she is rescued. She loves people and other dogs. She is available today from Chatsworth Animal Shelter in Murray County. The adoption fee is $115 and includes neutering, vaccinations, and heartworm treatment and a donor has offered to pay half the adoption fee for any reader who saves this puppy.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections

Not really politics, so file under “Georgians doing good.” Cook County High School students have elected their friend Misty Triggs to the homecoming court, with Misty receiving the highest vote total.

14-year-old Misty Triggs was born with cerebral palsy and has never been able to walk. She says sometimes it’s hard to feel like a regular teenager because she’s confined to a wheel chair.

“I can’t walk like the other kids, and sometimes its hard for me to be able to accept that. It’s hard for me because I want to be normal but I know I’m not,” said Misty.

But her freshman class sees her as a normal teenager like them. And they’ve voted Misty to represent the class in the homecoming court this Friday.

“Misty is like any of us, she acts the same she’s born the same, just because of a few things doesn’t make any difference,” said Elizabeth Mccumber, Misty’s friend.

Her Dad says it’s incredible to see how many students love Misty and her positive outlook on life. He says moving to south Georgia has made all the difference.

“That was one of the things I was really worried about when we moved out here and she started here, and its just been insane. It’s a lot different than California because I don’t believe this would have ever happened in California,” said father Jeff Triggs.

Advance voting in person is now open for the November 6th General Election all across Georgia. Go to Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s website and look up your county for information on where and when you can vote early in person.

In Cobb County yesterday, lines were as long as 100 people, and some voters waited an hour-and-a-half to vote in the first day of advance voting.

Janine Eveler, the county’s director of elections, said 1,371 of people turned out to vote early Monday. As of 5 p.m., 1,226 people had voted, but the 145 people standing in line were allowed to cast their ballots.

Compared to the first day of early voting in the 2008 presidential election, 1,049 people, or 322 fewer people, voted, but she said the wait wasn’t unusual.

The longest wait she heard on Monday was about two hours and 15 minutes.

“The shortest wait was when it was still raining between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.,” Eveler said. “At 9:30 a.m. it was about 45 to 50 minutes (waiting in line), but people were waiting at 7 a.m. for us to open at 8 a.m.”

Eveler also said opening additional polling locations will help relieve the wait at the Cobb Civic Center Oct. 25 and at nine other polling places the week of Oct. 29.

She reminded voters to “be patient, bring a small chair or stool if you like, a water bottle, or a book to pass the time.

“Going by what we saw in 2008, there should be shorter lines on Election Day than during early voting because we’ll have 153 locations open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The only significant wait times on Election Day in 2008 were before 10 a.m.,” she said.

In Gwinnett County, lines up to one hundred voters snaked out the door and down the sidewalk at the County Board of Elections.

At the Gwinnett County Board of Registration and Elections, Elections Director Lynn Ledford said more than 800 people had voted by lunch time — more than officials expected for the entire day — and she expected nearly 2,000 to vote by the end of the day. Each county in Georgia has at least one early voting location. Voters are required to show one of the required forms of photo identification, such as a driver’s license or a valid U.S. passport.

Early voting runs through Nov. 2, and Oct. 27 will be the only Saturday that voting sites will be open in Gwinnett.

Ledford said it’s difficult to compare this presidential election with 2008 because four years ago early voting began 45 days before, while this time it’s 21 days.

“But I can tell you this is the most we’ve ever had on the first day of early voting,” Ledford said. “Everybody is really excited about it.”

Most people in line at the voting site on Grayson Highway said they stood in line 30 minutes to 45 minutes, but Ledford said around lunctime the wait time swelled to about an hour and 15 minutes.

“I feel like it’s a very, very key election, and I want to make sure I get out here,” said David Knight of Grayson.

Knight said he prefers early voting because during the 2008 election, the wait time on Election Day at his precinct was more than two hours.

Snellville resident John E. Head, Jr., said this is the second straight election he’s participated in early voting, because Head said it’s quicker.

DeKalb County saw more than 2700 voters yesterday, according to the AJC.

Four years ago, during the last presidential election, more than 2 million Georgia voters — or 53 percent of all those who voted — cast ballots before Election Day, either in person or by mail. Officials said the heavy early turnout in 2008 prevented longer lines at the polls on Election Day.

This year, according to a poll conducted last week for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, nearly 40 percent of likely Georgia voters said they plan to cast a ballot during early voting, compared with 54 percent who plan to wait until Election Day.

Any voter registered in Georgia may participate in early voting.

Each county or municipality has at least one early-voting site open, where ballots can be cast before Election Day. Voters just need to show up, making sure they have one of the required forms of photo identification, such as a driver’s license or valid U.S. passport.

Closer to Nov. 6, counties especially in metro Atlanta will increase their number of early-voting sites and even extend hours.

Muscogee County has opened four locations for early voting this year.

In addition, Muscogee County voters will have opportunities to vote early on Saturdays at the Columbus Public Library. Those days are October 20th and October 27th from 10:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Locations to advance vote:

Elections Office
100 10th Street
M-F, 8:30 a.m. -5:00 p.m.

Columbus Baptist Association
3679 Steam Mill Road
M – F (closed Thurs. Oct. 18), 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

North Highland Assembly of God 
7300 Whittlesey Blvd
M – F (closed Wed. Oct. 31) 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Columbus Public Library 
3000 Macon Road
M – Th, 10:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Fri., 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sat., October 20th and 27th, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Bibb County voters faced a wait between 30 and 60 minutes in early voting yesterday.

People lined up outside of the Macon-Bibb Board of Elections to make sure their voices are heard.

“I waited about 30 minutes,” said first time voter Mary, “and it wasn’t too bad of a wait.”

The Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections Executive Director Elaine Carr said the anticipation of the presidential election is leading to longer lines. She projects at least 70% of the county will vote this year and it’s only going to get worse.

“Especially that last week of early voting. People wait and that’s went lines are gonna be the longest,” Carr said.

For those trying to bypass the lines, Carr suggests to show up early, be prepared and consider a change of location.

“Try to make sure you have time to go to your precinct on election day,” Carr said.

Whether Republican, Democrat or anything in between, voters seemed excited to play a part in picking the next president of the United States.”

“We have the advantage of choosing the next president” said Betty Carlos,“making social changes that need to be made.”

Carr said 1,056 people voted on the first day of early voting. In Bibb County, people can vote in advance at the Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections at 2445 Pio Nono Avenue. The polls are open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday voting is October 27.

Athens-Clarke County has more registered voters this year than in 2008 and early voting lines were out the door.

[E]lections chief Gail Schrader doesn’t expect the rush to slow soon.

“It’s been crazy since we opened the doors. Good crazy,” said Schrader, supervisor of elections and voter registration for Athens-Clarke County.

Schrader said she expects about 45,000 people to vote this year in Athens-Clarke County, and she believes about half of that number will cast ballots before Election Day. On the first day alone, 807 ballots were cast, she said.

“I think every day is going to be busy. I really think it’s just going to grow,” Schrader said.

Carroll County saw 755 advance voters on the first day, including some who were waiting at the door when it opened.

Candidates in the Special Republican Primary Election for Senate District 30 spoke to the Carroll, Douglas, and Paulding County farm bureaus about their support for agriculture.

Seeking the Senate seat formerly held by Bill Hamrick, a Carrollton Republican, in the Nov. 6 special Republican primary are Mike Dugan, a Carrollton general contractor and former military officer; former House Rep. Bill Hembree, a Winston insurance agent; Jim Naughton, a Carrollton business consultant; and Glenn Richardson, a Hiram attorney and former speaker of the Georgia House.

James Camp, a Libertarian candidate from Temple and an information technician, is not running in the Nov. 6 race. However, he qualified to run in the Jan. 8 special general election and will face the winner of the Nov. 6 Republican primary.

Hamrick resigned last month to accept a position as a Superior Court judge in the Coweta Judicial Circuit.

“Farming is absolutely the most important thing in this district,” Hembree said. “It’s the number one industry in Georgia and also number one in District 30. We have to do everything we can to protect the farmer, because we know the value of the farm. The farmer feeds and clothes our families, so we have to do everything we can to assure that continues. We want Georgia’s number one industry to be agriculture. As your state senator, I’ll try every day to make sure it stays that way.”

Richardson agreed that agriculture is the number one industry and said timber is the number one component of the agricultural industry.

“The question is what we can do to promote agriculture,” he said. “I will tell you what continues to be a problem. We see people forced from their farms because they can’t pay the taxes. We continue to have tax assessors who do everything they can to make it difficult for farmers. We have to quit doing that. We have to think of ways to move things to market. We should end property taxes. We should have never taxed property. Farmers shouldn’t have to think about selling their land to pay their taxes if their crops don’t come in.”

Hembree called the right to own property “one of the fundamental American rights.” He cited a Henry County case in which the Legislature acted to prevent a city from taking over property.

“We had to go in and change the law,” Hembree said. “Again, it’s a fundamental right that everybody should have to own their own property and do with it the best they see.”

Hembree said he has worked closely with the Farm Bureau on the issues of taxes and difficulties of operating a farm.

“We passed House Bill 386, which is an expansion of the sales tax exemption on agriculture,” he said. “What it does is to broaden the tax exemption for all agricultural industry, on equipment, energy use and farm tools. We worked closely with the Farm Bureau for two years to get the measure passed and was finally successful. It says to the farmers that we want to help you do what you do best and that is farm.”

Richardson called private property “sacrosanct” and said owners should be able to do what they want with their property, within zoning regulations. However, he said, there’s often conflicts.

“As more and more people have moved into areas and intruded on agricultural property, they have started complaining about things that happen on a farm,” he said. “We should never let zoning change the use of a farm for agriculture purposes.”

Richardson said another intrusion into farm use is when the Georgia Environmental Protection Division starts doing indirectly what no local government will do directly.

“They start picking and nitpicking and we have to stop that,” he said. “You can’t run a farm without having fuel and you can’t run a farm without animals doing what animals do. While you have to have some restrictions, you have to be reasonable.”

Last night the SD30 candidates spoke to the League of Women Voters of Carrollton-Carroll County.

Speaking on the charter school amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot, Hembree said he supports it.

“I supported House Resolution 1162 which set up the charter school amendment,” Hembree said. “I would further like to say that no local funds can be used for charter schools. No reduction in state funding to local schools will take place.”

He noted that local systems can create charter schools.

“There will be a review process before submitting to the state,” he said. “The state will make sure there is checks and balances. I believe in public schools. My three sons are in public schools, but I also believe in private schools and charter schools. On size doesn’t fit all.”

Richardson spoke in favor of the charter amendment as a way of giving control to the people.

“A good thing about the charter amendment is people get to decide,” he said. “Each of you get to decide, you have one vote, just like me. When you go to the polls, you get to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ I intend to vote yes. Go inform yourself.”

Richardson said since the graduation rate is so low, we should be trying something different.

“Isn’t it time we try something with a choice?” he asked. “The charter school is one weapon in an arsenal of education that gives parents choices. I know schools in Carroll, Douglas and Paulding counties do good jobs. They can do better. This is not an attempt to attack our schools. It’s an attempt to give moms and dads a chance to see Johnny in the ninth grade go on to graduate.”

Richardson said the measure will let parents decide when their kids are failing, some at a 40 percent rate, to have a choice.

“This is a good time to try,” he said. “If you don’t like it, we can always change it again. That’s what government has to do, always be changing. I’m ready to give a choice.”

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer profiles Senator Ed Harbison (D) and his Republican opponent, David Brown.

If re-elected to the Senate, Harbison said, he’ll work with other House members to consider a way to help veterans relocating to the Columbus area after retiring. Veterans aren’t taxed on income by the state of Alabama, but they are in Georgia.

“I think to put us on an even keel with the state of Alabama we need to make sure we give them some kind of tax credit to make sure they are not burdened with something in Georgia that they are getting a break on in Alabama,” Harbison said.

A military exemption was in place for veterans, but it was thrown out in the court because all federal employees in the state weren’t included.

“Since that time, we have not been able to put the military in this exceptional category as opposed to putting all the federal retirees in the same category,” he said. “We are trying to determine if we can’t do both. Ideally, it would be an attraction to do both of those.”

The American system was set up for people who want to do well. If elected, Brown said he would uphold those traditional values that made America great.

“I also have a very strong faith,” Brown said. “You can count on me to stand up for traditional values that were there for the founding, helped encourage growth and sustained it. I’m not out to reinvent the government, not out to reinvent the way that system works. I’m saying the system was good.”

Thursday night will be the 2012 Georgia Republican Party Victory Dinner with keynote speaker Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who serves as Majority Whip.

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