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

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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.
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