Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 29, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 29, 2018

Georgia ratified the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution on November 29, 1794, which reads,

The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state.

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations passed a resolution to partition Palestine and allow the creation of a Jewish state of Israel.

On November 29, 1963, President Lyndon Johnson appointed the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, referred to as the Warren Commission. Senator Richard B. Russell, Jr. of Georgia was appointed to the Commission.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Floyd County is seeing a rush of early voters ahead of next week’s runoff elections for Secretary of State and Public Service Commission, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

“Everything’s running smoothly,” said Elections Technician Vanessa Waddell. “(Turnout) is a little higher than an average runoff, but I haven’t heard of any hiccups.”

Today is the last day the Rome Civic Center will be open, but early voting continues through Friday at the County Administration Building, 12 E. Fourth Ave. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All 25 precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, the day of the election.

A total of 1,405 voters went in person to the two sites through Wednesday, and Waddell said they’ve mailed out 683 absentee ballots to people — typically elderly or disabled — on their standard list.

From WTXL:

Leila Dollison, Tift County’s Election Supervisor, said 224 people cast ballots on the first day of early voting, so she expects better than usual turnout.

“If it’s anything like the general election, we can expect a good turnout. People seem to be interested,” said Dollison.

From WJBF:

There was record early voting for the mid-terms three weeks ago and some say they won’t be surprised if it’s not as busy for the run-offs.

“It probably will be but hopefully it picks up later. You know if you want to be heard you got to vote so they know what they got to do,” said Augusta voter Sylvia Harris.

The Municipal Building and the three usual satellite locations are open for early voting.

From the Tribune & Georgian:

The Kingsland mayor’s race with incumbent Kenneth Smith and challenger Grayson Day is headed to a runoff election on Tuesday along with two state offices.

After votes had been tallied in November, none of the four candidates for Kingsland mayor had received a majority of the votes, 50 percent plus one vote. Day, a sitting councilman, took 41.94 percent of the votes and Smith claimed the second spot at 24.64 percent. Jim McClain, also a councilman, was just 96 votes behind Smith with 22.76 percent. Former councilman James Ham received 10.39 percent of the vote.

Former U.S. Attorney and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates will not run for office, according to the Associated Press.

Yates told a Bloomberg summit in New York she has no aspirations to pursue politics— in Georgia or elsewhere— despite her many years of public service.

“I just have to confess running for office is just not anything I’ve ever felt drawn to,” she said. “You know what feels like you or doesn’t.”

Muscogee County Board of Elections voted to extend early voting hours, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

At Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson’s urging, the Muscogee County Board of Elections and Registrations has agreed to extend Columbus’ early voting for Tuesday’s runoff by two hours on Thursday and Friday, the final days of advance voting.

The hours were 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Now they will be 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The mayor made the request Tuesday night, after the 5:30 p.m. Columbus Council meeting. She told elections director Nancy Boren the city had heard complaints about the schedule.

Tomlinson responded to the Ledger-Enquirer’s inquiry Wednesday night, in a voice message saying District 7 Councilor Mimi Woodson found people trying to vote when she got to the council meeting around 6 p.m., and they were upset they were not able to cast ballots after they got off work.

The extended hours will increase the cost of the runoff, which was not included in the elections office budget, though councilors were warned runoffs were possible, when the budget was approved.

Though no local races are on the runoff ballot, Columbus residents have shown considerable interest in the holiday election: 543 voted in person on Monday and 992 on Tuesday. Boren said her staff had mailed out 3,412 absentee ballots as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, and had a stack of absentee ballot applications that had just come in the mail.

Coweta County Commissioners formally asked their legislative delegation to allow a referendum on property tax breaks for seniors, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

The Coweta County Board of Commissioners executed a resolution Tuesday asking the legislators who represent Coweta County to introduce “local legislation” in the 2019 Georgia General Assembly session that would allow Coweta voters to decide whether or not to increase existing school property tax breaks for those 65 and older.

Though the increased exemption proposal was approved by the Coweta Board of Education, under state law the county commissioners must pass the resolution requesting local legislation.

If local legislation is approved, the next step will be putting the question on the ballot.

Historically, the delegation has required a unanimous vote by a governing body before it will move forward with local legislation. And the school board vote was 6-to-1, with school board member Linda Menk opposed.

That lack of a unanimous vote from the school board was discussed by the commissioners Tuesday night.

“Essentially, since this was not unanimous, then the local legislators are not going to consider it?” asked Chairman Al Smith.

Glynn County has received a grant from the Georgia Department of Agriculture that can be used to provide spay and neuter services, according to The Brunswick News.

Starting later this month a grant from the Georgia Department of Agriculture will, pending approval from the Glynn County Commission, pay for spay and neuter surgeries for low-income county pet owners.

“We anticipate, depending on the breakdown between male and female, dog and cat, since the cost is different for each one … we’re estimating around 60 pets will be able to be spayed or neutered with this grant,” said Animal Control Manager Tiffani Hill.

Animal Control plans to partner with Island Animal Hospital to perform the spay and neuter surgeries on pets.

While the program is aimed at low-income residents, Hill said animal control won’t rule out anyone who doesn’t meet federal guidelines.

“We’re going to have people write an explanation on their application as to how they qualify of free spay/neuter services and submit to us some piece of documentation indicating they are low-income,” Hill said. “We don’t want to rule somebody out because they make a few dollars more than the federal guideline.”

Free surgeries are limited to Glynn County residents exclusively, and each household can only apply for three pets. The surgeries will be performed at Island Animal Hospital.

Hampton City Council will interview candidates for interim city manager, according to the Henry Herald.

Athens-Clarke County‘s citizens SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) committee will consider project requests totalling more than one billion dollars, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.

An Athens-Clarke County citizens committee must sift through 88 project proposals costing about $1.2 billion to whittle down what to include on a referendum for a renewed 1 percent Special Local Option Sales Tax.

The Athens-Clarke Commission has tentatively capped the dollar amount for expected tax collections at $248 million, which equals about nine years’ worth of collections, according to Athens-Clarke County fiscal planners.

That’s going to mean more work for the citizens committee, Athens-Clarke SPLOST administrator Keith Sanders told a separate citizens committee appointed to oversee the 1 percent special sales tax for transportation Clarke voters approved last year, raising sales taxes in Athens to 8 percent. That penny tax is projected to pay for 19 projects totaling $109.5 million during its five-year limit.

The sales tax proposal commissioners are working on now would not increase the sales tax, but would keep it at 8 percent if voters approve its continuation in a November 2019 referendum.

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