Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 16, 2020

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 16, 2020

The Georgia Trustees visited the first group of settlers on November 16, 1732, the day before they were scheduled to depart England for the New World.

On November 16, 1737, the Georgia Trustees learned that England’s King George II would send 300 soldiers, along with 150 wives and 130 children to the settlement in Georgia.

On November 16, 1864, Sherman left Atlanta in smoking ruins.

A 2010 Wired article argues that Sherman’s rampage through Georgia and the Carolinas changed modern warfare.

Vengeance aside, the real objective of Sherman’s march was to cut the Confederacy in two, cripple Southern industrial capacity, destroy the railroad system and compel an early Confederate surrender. It was also intended to break Southern morale — in Sherman’s words, to “make Georgia howl.”

Sherman was vilified for his barbarism, but the Union commander was a realist, not a romantic. He understood — as few of his contemporaries seemed to — that technology and industrialization were radically changing the nature of warfare.

It was no longer a question of independent armies meeting on remote battlefields to settle the issue. Civilians, who helped produce the means for waging modern war, would no longer be considered innocent noncombatants. Hitting the enemy where he ate and breaking him psychologically were just as important to victory as vanquishing his armies in the field.

Sherman grasped this and, though he wasn’t the first military proponent of total war, he was the first modern commander to deliberately strike at the enemy’s infrastructure. The scorched-earth tactics were effective. The fragile Southern economy collapsed, and a once-stout rebel army was irretrievably broken.

Meanwhile, the marshals of Europe watched Sherman’s progress with fascination. And they learned.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp issued two Executive Orders. Executive Order 11.13.20.01 renews and revises the earlier “Providing Guidance” COVID-19 prevention orders and Executive Order 11.13.20.02 renews the state of emergency related to unlawful assemblage. From 41NBC:

Governor Brian P. Kemp signed an executive order renewing the current COVID-19 restrictions through November 30. The Order takes effect on November 16 at 12 a.m.

“As COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations rise across the country, Dr. Toomey and I are asking Georgians to remain vigilant in our fight against COVID-19,” Governor Kemp said. “The state has deployed over 300,000 rapid tests to communities across our state, stockpiled a sixty-day supply of PPE, and worked with hospitals and nursing homes to provide the medical staff needed to treat COVID-19 patients. While we are prepared for any scenario, it is vital that Georgians do not grow complacent.

“Continue to wash your hands, wear a mask, watch your distance, follow public health guidance, and get a flu shot. By taking these simple steps, we will protect lives – and livelihoods.”

From the Athens Banner Herald:

The latest order keeps in place a ban on gatherings larger than 50 people in Georgia and continues to make wearing a mask voluntary at the statewide level rather than mandatory. Cities and counties have been allowed to impose their own mask mandates since August so long as their local requirements do not apply to businesses and residences.

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to institute a nationwide mask mandate on his first day in office in January.

Kemp said the state has distributed more than 300,000 rapid COVID-19 tests across the state, stockpiled a 60-day supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and worked with hospitals and nursing homes to provide the medical staff needed to treat coronavirus patients.

Meanwhile, President Trump has had a few things to say about Georgia:

Trump Brad Raff Nov 13

Trump Consent Decree Trump Hand Recount Trump v Kemp 1

From Newsweek:

President Donald Trump criticized Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp for a second day as he continues to allege irregularities in the state’s votes without evidence.

In a second tweet on Saturday, the president added: “..What are they trying to hide. They know, and so does everyone else. EXPOSE THE CRIME!”

The president appears to be referring to a consent decree from earlier in 2020 which concerned signature matching on mail-in ballots. Abrams spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the decree on October 4.

“[Y]ou could always vote by mail, that was never a problem. The issue was they threw out your ballot if there was a signature mismatch, which was twice as likely if you were Black or Latino, five times as likely if you’re young,” Abrams said.

From Breitbart.com:

In a Thursday letter to Raffensperger, David Shafer of the Georgia Republican Party and Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), who is leading the Trump campaign’s recount effort in the Peach State, stressed that “the training and directives … do not comport” with Raffensperger’a “stated goals yesterday and do not satisfy our concerns that gave rise to our request for a hand count in the first place.”

First and foremost, the Trump allies noted that the audit does not include a review of signatures on absentee ballot applications and ballot envelopes.

“Our analysis of your office’s publicly available data shows that the number of rejected absentee ballots in Georgia plummeted from 3.5% in 2018 to 0.3% in 2020,” the letter read:

“This raises serious concerns as to whether the counties properly conducted signature verification and/or other scrutiny of absentee ballots. In fact, it presents the issue of whether some counties conducted any scrutiny at all,” the letter continued, categorizing a signature review as “fundamental to this procedure.”

“We do not believe it is possible to certify the results of the 2020 General Election without conducting this investigation and analysis,” they added.

From the AJC:

Top Georgia Republicans, including Gov. Brian Kemp, declined to rebut Trump’s allegations.

But other prominent Republicans, such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, advanced Trump’s claims, and right-wing media outlets amplified the message. A commentator on the conservative website Newsmax described Georgia’s recount — a ballot-by-ballot review of nearly 5 million votes that entered its second day Saturday — as “a sham and a hoax and a fix.”

Trump supporters who rallied outside the state Capitol on Saturday echoed the president’s contention that the election was rigged. Many carried signs denouncing Kemp and Raffensperger as “RINOs” — Republicans in name only, an insult that Trump hurled against them on Friday. Protesters said they would return weekly until Trump is declared the winner.

Rick Barron, Fulton’s election director, said signatures on absentee ballots had been carefully verified before votes were counted.

“The process has already been done once,” Barron said. “There’s no reason to do it again.”

The AJC reports that DeKalb and Fulton counties have finished recounting ballots in the statewide audit of the Presidential election.

No irregularities or significant tabulation errors emerged during the first two days of the recount, officials said Saturday. Counting will continue through 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday.

DeKalb County finished counting ballots shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday, a county spokesperson said. The county will transmit the results to the Secretary of State’s Office on Monday morning.

DeKalb election workers counted some 373,000 ballots by hand over two days.

Gwinnett County has finished retallying all of its absentee ballots, said Joe Sorenson, a county spokesperson. But he expects it will take a full day — or longer — to finish counting the rest of the in-person, machine votes.

“I think we have probably a good day with the paper ballots tomorrow,” Sorenson said. “It’s gone very well.”

After Cobb County stopped counting Sunday around 6 p.m., Elections Director Janine Eveler said workers had input 270,000 votes in the ARLO system.

She added, “There are many more ballots that have been audited and not entered yet.”

One recount team of two people were counting the final Fulton County ballots just before 4 p.m. Sunday.

Chatham County elections officials made substantial progress on the recount/audit, according to the Savannah Morning News.

As day three of Georgia’s hand recount began on Sunday, Chatham County Board of Elections had counted all but a few absentee ballots, all but one precinct of Election Day ballots, and had started counting early voting ballots.

The in-person Election Day votes of only one of Chatham’s 91 precincts remained uncounted, and the rest of the tables had already moved on to tallying the 92,000 early votes cast in the county.

The poll workers counting ballots worked from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. [Recount Manager Billy] Wooten said the goal is not speed, but accuracy. And because of the progress they’ve made ahead of the Wednesday deadline, they have the chance to take their time and make sure the count is accurate.

“We’ve got until Wednesday at midnight. We’ve got plenty of time, and we’d rather it be accurate and correct — all the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted,” Wooten said. “We’re not in any hurry. We can certainly finish, in my opinion, by Wednesday night.”

From the Statesboro Herald:

A crew of six experienced poll workers started sorting ballots into Biden and Trump stacks and counting them at 9 a.m. Friday. By 5 p.m., they had Bulloch County’s part in Georgia’s state-ordered hand recount of votes in the presidential race about half completed.

About 15,000 ballots had been looked at and the votes counted, said Bulloch County Election Supervisor Pat Lanier Jones. That total already included all of the county’s absentee ballots and most of the touchscreen machine ballot printouts from in-person early voting at the County Annex. Ahead, for Saturday, lay the printouts from the two other, shorter-term in-person early voting locations, and then some of the printouts from the Election Day voting at precincts.

The crew would start back at 9 a.m. Saturday but might not continue all day, Jones said. There might also be two additional poll workers.

“If we make good progress (Saturday), then odds are we’re going to take Sunday off and come back Monday,” Jones said.

From the Ledger-Enquirer:

Forty Columbus Republicans and Democrats assembled on short notice Friday morning to begin the “heavy lift” of hand-counting more than 80,000 ballots cast here in the Nov. 3 presidential election.

In this audit, bipartisan teams sort through batches of printed ballots, examine each, divide them by candidate into separate stacks, and tabulate them.

Nancy Boren, executive director of the Muscogee County Board of Elections and Registration, asked those chairing the two major local party organizations to gather at least 16 volunteers to be divided into eight teams, with a Democrat and Republican on each. Additional representatives were needed to serve other functions.

Besides the two-person teams of “auditors” who would sift through the ballots, about a dozen party representatives were designated as “monitors,” who silently would observe the count to ensure its integrity.

Besides sorting the ballots into votes for incumbent Republican President Donald Trump, Democrat Joe Biden or Libertarian Jo Jorgensen, the auditors had to account for what are called “overvotes,” “undervotes,” and “undetermined.” Those ballots are set aside for review by a bipartisan audit committee that decides whether the voters’ intent can be determined.

An “overvote” means the voter marked more than one candidate’s name in the same race. An “undervote” means the voter marked no candidate’s name. “Undetermined” means the voter’s ballot is marked, but not clearly.

From the Gainesville Times:

All of Hall County’s ballots have been sorted and recounted by hand, Hall spokeswoman Katie Crumley said Sunday, Nov. 15.

Final election results by candidate have not been tallied yet, she said.

Officials are “awaiting further instruction from the (Georgia) secretary of state,” Crumley said.

Also, 150 ballots will go to an adjudication panel later this week “for a decision to be made, by majority vote, on voter’s intent,” she added.

From the Rome News Tribune:

The painstaking hand recount of ballots cast by Floyd County residents in the Presidential election was completed late Saturday afternoon.

Board of Elections member Melanie Conrad sent the RN-T a statement Sunday indicating that the board is making progress on transmitting the numbers to the Secretary of State’s office.

“Because they need more than just grand totals, we want to verify that all the categories are accurate,” Conrad said. “We plan on transmitting the information by Wednesday morning.”

Supporters of President Trump rallied in Savannah, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Chanting “Stop the Steal!” repeatedly, about 70 supporters of Republican President Donald Trump held a rally in front of the Chatham Board of Elections annex where a state-mandated hand recount of the county’s presidential ballots continued Saturday.

The rally began at 11 a.m. Saturday as Trump supporters of all ages listened to speakers bellowing into a bullhorn. Many participants hoisted signs with messages including “America is watching,” “We deserve a free and fair election,” and “If we let them steal this one, we will never have another fair one!”

Fenika Miller will serve as a Democratic Presidential Elector from Georgia if Joe Biden is confirmed as the winner in the state, according to the Macon Telegraph.

“This is a really exciting time for me, and I’m sure my fellow electors feel the same; we haven’t had this opportunity since I was a high school student when Bill Clinton won Georgia. That was 1992. So this is really an exciting time and an inspiring time,” Miller said.

Miller is a community activist who served as the chair of the Houston County Democratic Committee from 2010-2014, ran for the state house twice and is currently serving as the chair of the 8th Congressional District of the Democratic Party of Georgia.

“Right now, it’s just pride, pride in having been a part of this process, like I said, for over 12 years in state partisan politics, but I’ve been doing activism and organizing work since I was 12 years old,” Miller said.

Seventeen Probate Judges in Georgia have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to Georgia Health News via the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Some Whitfield County government offices will close to disinfect, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Whitfield County Tax Commissioner Danny Sane said Friday he has had no cases of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) in his office. But in an abundance of caution, his office, located in the county courthouse, will be closed to the public next week.

But Sane said that with other offices in the courthouse closed he is going to take the opportunity to “wipe everything down, disinfect everything.” He said the staff will also take the opportunity to pack some things for a planned January move into the tax office’s new location at 1013 Riverburch Parkway, just off the north bypass.

The Whitfield County Tax Assessor’s Office will also be closed to the public next week. But Chief Appraiser Ashley O’Donald said staff will still be at work. He said anyone needing assistance can call (706) 275-7410.

Whitfield County Superior Court will hold no trials next week, after the clerk of Superior Court said it will be closed until Nov. 23 because of exposure to COVID-19.

“We will not be able to file cases or other legal documents until (Nov. 23),” said District Attorney Bert Poston. “That’s going to limit what we can do in court next week.”

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