Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 9, 2020


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 9, 2020

Georgia’s colonial charter, signed by King George II was witnessed on June 9, 1732.

Click here for the full text of Georgia’s Royal Charter from 1732.

Click here to see the oldest copy of Georgia’s Royal Charter, which was presented to Georgia by South Carolina.

The Battle of Bloody Marsh was fought between Spanish forces and colonists under James Oglethorpe on St Simons Island, Georgia in 1742 on a date that is variously cited as June 9 or June 7, 1742. Thus began the rivalry between Georgia and Florida.

On June 9, 1772, the first naval attack of the Revolutionary War took place near Providence, Rhode Island, as HMS Gaspee, a British tax enforcement ship was baited into running aground and attacked by a boarding party the next day.

On June 9, 1864, Gen. W.T. Sherman moved his troops to Big Shanty, Georgia, now called Kennesaw, and beginning a four-week period sometimes called the Battle of Marietta.

Cream was formed on June 9, 1966 by Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Jack Bruce.

On June 9, 1973, Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown, the first to win all three of the Triple Crown races since 1948. Secretariat was bred by Christopher Chenery, a graduate of Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, whose jockeys wore blue-and-white silks in honor of Chenery’s alma mater.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp announced that state tax collections were down again in May, according to a press release.

The State of Georgia’s May net tax collections totaled $1.58 billion for a decrease of $178 million, or -10.1 percent, compared to May 2019 when net tax collections totaled nearly $1.76 billion. Year-to-date net tax collections totaled $20.81 billion for a decrease of roughly $857.9 million, or -4 percent, compared to the previous fiscal year when net tax revenues totaled nearly $21.67 billion.

One area I noticed had an increase:

Motor Vehicle – Tag & Title Fees: Motor Vehicle Tag & Title Fees increased by $3.8 million, or 15.7 percent, in May while Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) collections declined by $44.3 million, or -57.5 percent, compared to FY 2019.

The AJC noted another area of strong growth:

Alcohol sales tax collections remained strong with a 12.3% improvement over May 2019.

Governor Kemp appointed Marie G. Broder of Spalding County as District Attorney for the Griffin Judicial Circuit, serving Fayette, Pike, Spalding, and Upson Counties. Gov. Kemp also appointed Ben J. Miller, Jr. as Superior Court Judge for the Griffin Judicial Circuit.

Gov. Kemp spent yesterday in Savannah, as officials from the Republican National Committee toured the city under consideration to host some part of the Republican National Convention. From the Savannah Morning News:

RNC president and CEO Marcia Lee Kelly and her team joined Kemp for the visit. After a late lunch at The Olde Pink House, Kemp spoke with members of the media. Kelly did not.

Kemp said the RNC is considering having multiple events in different cities, though the exact path forward is not yet clear.

He said during Kelly’s visit he was “really letting her get the feel for this great historic city and explaining to her and emphasizing how great we are at tourism in Savannah and in the state of Georgia and that we’re great at hosting large crowds.”

“I’m very certain that we could have a very large event here. Who knows what the president is gonna be doing?” Kemp said. “He may have multiple large events in conjunction with all these things, whether it be Georgia, Florida, South Carolina at the same time. That’s why we’re working with them. We’re open to hosting any or all of what they want to do as they move forward.”

“If it is gonna be a regional event, which, I don’t know exactly what they’re gonna do, but if it is, this is in the heart of a very important region when you think about Florida and South Carolina being very close by.”

From WJCL:

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson issued the following statement in response: “I am strongly concerned about the impact that a convention of this magnitude would have on the health, safety and welfare of our city, her citizens and our budget. That being said, I am not privy to, or familiar with, any proposal or plans relating to the 2020 Republican National Convention, but I am open and willing to hear what they have to say.”

Today is Primary Election Day in Georgia. From the Valdosta Daily Times:

After being delayed twice due to COVID-19, voters will be able to cast ballots Tuesday, June 9, in the presidential primary, state primaries and non-partisan races. The polls open 7 a.m. and close 7 p.m.

Voters wishing to cast a ballot in-person will need to be aware if their usual voting precinct is closed or not. Due to the pandemic, four precincts in Lowndes County will be closed for the election Tuesday.

The coronavirus has altered the election not only in date but how people vote. In Lowndes, nearly 7,000 mail-in absentee ballots have been received by the county elections office as of Monday morning, [Lowndes County Election Supervisor Deb] Cox said.

Having already scanned in all the absentee ballots received at the time, she said that the high volume of mail in votes should not delay results. Those ballots already are in the computers and will be tabulated 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“We should know 99% of the results tomorrow night,” Cox said Monday.

Absentee ballots will continue to be accepted until 7 p.m Tuesday.

From the Dalton Daily Citizen News:

Almost a fifth of registered voters in both Whitfield and Murray counties will have already voted when polls open on Tuesday at 7 a.m.

Whitfield County Registrar Mary Hammontree said 1,980 people voted in early voting and as of about 3:30 p.m. on Monday the elections office had received 6,509 absentee ballots. Whitfield County has 52,773 registered voters.

The Murray County elections office reported that 1,587 took part in early voting there and as of about noon on Monday it had received 2,774 absentee ballots. The county has about 22,000 registered voters, so roughly 20% of registered voters have already voted in Murray County.

Whitfield County voters will decide on a proposed four-year, $66 million Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) that would, among other things, fund projects that include a county Riverbend Park near Southeast Whitfield High School; a new John Davis Recreation Center for the city of Dalton; and sewer expansion to the Carbondale interchange, the Connector 3 interchange and north along Cleveland Highway to about Frontier Trail to encourage economic development in those areas.

In both Whitfield and Murray counties, all of the contested general primary races will be on the Republican Party ballot.

From The Brunswick News:

Turnout during early voting was record-breaking for Glynn County among absentee voters and those looking to vote in person. According to the Glynn County Board of Elections, during the 16 days of early voting 3,601 people cast ballots, surpassing 2016 and 2018.

More impressive was the number of absentee ballots — in excess of 9,000 as of 5:30 p.m. Monday. According to board member Keith Rustin, that’s more than the last five elections combined.

Georgia elections officials expect in-person election day turnout to lag behind past years, largely due to COVID-19.

Nearly 325,000 statewide voted in-person during the last three weeks, easily surpassing the record set in during the 2016 primary of 255,000.

Nearly one million people cast a ballot by mail, he said, and will likely pass a million before the polls close at 7 p.m. today.

In total, 1.2 million had voted as of 10:30 a.m. Monday, more than the total turnout during the 2016 primary.

Historically, half of voters cast their ballots during early voting and half on election day.

From the Rome News Tribune:

More than 14,000 Floyd County residents have already cast ballots by mail or in person during the early voting period that ended Friday. Chief Elections Clerk Robert Brady said there were 3,246 votes cast at the Rome Civic Center and his office had received 11,207 ballots by mail.

“No more absentee by mail ballots can be issued, but they will continue to be collected until the polls close,” he said.

Ballots can be returned at the drop boxes in front of the elections office at the County Administration Building, 12 E. Fourth Ave., and the Rome Floyd County Library, 205 Riverside Parkway.

Brady said he’s expecting a turnout rate of about 32%. With the active registered voter list standing at 57,115, that would mean another 3,800 voters or so will cast ballots across the 25 precincts today.

“Primaries draw 26% to 32% traditionally, so I’m being optimistic,” Brady said.

From the Athens Banner Herald:

In District 6, incumbent Jerry NeSmith, who died Sunday, was seeking re-election, and should he garner more votes than his challenger Jesse Houle, the race would require a special election later.

Lines got longer and longer during last week of advance voting in Athens-Clarke and other places around the state. In Fulton County, some voters waited in line until midnight to cast a ballot, according to newspaper and television reports.

As of Monday morning, 14,681 people had voted in Clarke County, and 8,315 in neighboring Oconee County, Jones said. By contrast, 7,615 people in Oconee County voted in the 2018 nonpartisan party primaries, featuring contested races for party nominations for governor, and 17,385 in Clarke County.

Hotly contested races without incumbents for sheriff and probate court judge may be fueling voter interest in Oconee County this year.

From the Gainesville Times:

The county elections office had processed about 14,700 absentee ballots as of Friday morning, Elections Director Lori Wurtz said. Another 2,400 had arrived at the office but had not been processed yet.

Although a third-party vendor contracted with the state had been processing absentee ballots, the responsibility shifted back to county offices during the last week of early voting, Wurtz said.

The county has received about 60,000 absentee ballot applications and sent out about 31,000 ballots. County spokeswoman Katie Crumley said of the remaining applications, about 18,000 were duplicate requests, or people who sent in multiple applications. Another 6,000 were returned mail, including many people whose mailing addresses were different from their physical addresses, and the Secretary of State’s vendor re-sent many of those ballots. She said 100 were being held for additional information, such as if the voter did not sign the ballot or designate a party. Elections officials had been unable to reach those 100 voters.

About 3,400 people had cast their ballots in person during early voting as of Friday morning, Wurtz said.

There are about 125,000 registered voters in Hall.

From the AJC:

Election results will also be delayed, possibly for days, in some contests because of the time it might take to count so many absentee ballots. A record 943,000 voters have returned absentee ballots so far.

Raffensperger announced Monday that he wouldn’t release any election results until the last precinct in the state closes Tuesday night. While precincts are scheduled to be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., voting locations will keep their doors open late to accommodate voters waiting in line.

“I ask everyone to be patient. We are in fact all in this together,” Raffensperger said. “I just don’t believe in releasing results while other voters are actively voting.”

A Dalton City Council majority favors removing a statute of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

“Any time you have something that offends so many people, it should be moved,” said Mayor David Pennington when reached after the march. But Pennington cautioned that moving it could violate a state law passed last year.

“The law says we’d have to move it to a place of equal prominence, which sort of defeats the purpose,” he said.

Pennington said the statue is still owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which was responsible for its creation. He said he does not know the details of any agreement for the statue to be maintained by the city but it always has been. Melissa Burchfield, a representative of the United Daughters of the Confederacy Pvt. Drewry R. Smith Chapter 2522, declined comment Monday night.

Protesters in Macon will advocate for removal of a Confederate memorial, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) spoke to the Glynn County Republican Party, according to The Brunswick News.

The Floyd County Judicial Center will be closed through at least June 22 after several more COVID-19 cases, according to the Rome News Tribune.

An emergency order issued Monday stated that a “significant number of courthouse employees have tested positive or required treatment.” The Department of Public Health has determined that many have had close contact with an infected employee.

There are currently seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 among courthouse staff, said Northwest Georgia District Public Health spokesman Logan Boss

“This requirement has resulted in all of the judges and staff of the probate court being in self-quarantine,” the order stated. “In addition, the Office of the Clerk of Superior Court has most, if not all, of its employees in self-quarantine.”

Rome City Commission voted against a proposal to allow some public alcohol consumption in downtown, according to the Rome News Tribune.

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