Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 21, 2022

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Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 21, 2022

Georgia’s Royal Colony Seal was approved on June 21, 1754.

Georgia Colony Seal

The Constitution of the United States of America was ratified on June 21, 1788, when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify.

On September 17, 1787, after three months of debate moderated by convention president George Washington, the new U.S. constitution, which created a strong federal government with an intricate system of checks and balances, was signed by 38 of the 41 delegates present at the conclusion of the convention. As dictated by Article VII, the document would not become binding until it was ratified by nine of the 13 states.

Beginning on December 7, five states–Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut–ratified it in quick succession. However, other states, especially Massachusetts, opposed the document, as it failed to reserve undelegated powers to the states and lacked constitutional protection of basic political rights, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press. In February 1788, a compromise was reached under which Massachusetts and other states would agree to ratify the document with the assurance that amendments would be immediately proposed. The Constitution was thus narrowly ratified in Massachusetts, followed by Maryland and South Carolina. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document, and it was subsequently agreed that government under the U.S. Constitution would begin on March 4, 1789. In June, Virginia ratified the Constitution, followed by New York in July.

A lynch mob including members of the KKK killed three young civil rights activists who were trying to register African-Americans to vote near Meridian, Mississippi on June 21, 1964.

When Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney, a young black man, were coming back from a trip to Philadelphia, Mississippi, deputy sheriff Cecil Price, who was also a Klan member, pulled them over for speeding. He then held them in custody while other KKK members prepared for their murder. Eventually released, the three activists were later chased down in their car and cornered in a secluded spot in the woods where they were shot and then buried in graves that had been prepared in advance.

When news of their disappearance got out, the FBI converged on Mississippi to investigate. With the help of an informant, agents learned about the Klan’s involvement and found the bodies. Since Mississippi refused to prosecute the assailants in state court, the federal government charged 18 men with conspiracy to violate the civil rights of Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney.

John W. Hinckley, Jr. was acquitted of attempted murder of President Ronald Reagan and others in the Presidential party by reason on insanity on June 21, 1982.

Voters in Sandy Springs approved the new city’s incorporation on June 21, 2005.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

So, the geniuses in Washington, DC think the best way to ensure safe and secure elections in Georgia is to call the two top elections officials to a dog-and-pony show in DC ON ELECTION DAY? From WSB-TV:

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger will be center stage as the Jan. 6 Committee’s hearings get back underway Tuesday morning.

Raffensperger and his deputy Gabe Sterling are scheduled to be the key witnesses when the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection resumes Tuesday.

The focus of Tuesday’s hearing will be on how the former president and his allies vigorously pressured officials in key battleground states with schemes to reject ballots or entire state tallies to upend the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Also expected to testify Tuesday is Sterling, Raffensperger’s chief operating officer.

Today is the General Primary Runoff Election, with voting till 7 PM. From the Valdosta Daily Times:

Southern Judicial Circuit superior court judge candidates Catherine Mims Smith and William Long Whitesell will be on the ballot for Lowndes County residents and voters in four other South Georgia counties.

In the May 24 primary election, Smith had 14,926 votes, or 46.02%, combined from the five counties of the Southern Judicial Circuit – Lowndes, Brooks, Echols, Colquitt and Thomas, according to the Georgia Secretary of State website. Whitesell had a combined five-county total of 11,231 votes, or 34.63%. The third candidate, Robert L. Moore Jr., earned 6,274 votes, or 19.35%.

Lowndes County elections office reports 1,853 registered voters cast ballots during the nine days of early voting earlier this month.

From 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, June 21, registered voters may vote in an assigned precinct. To find an assigned precinct, go to: https://mvp.sos.ga.gov.

From the Dalton Daily Citizen News:

Those who were eligible to vote in May 24 in the general primary and didn’t vote or who voted on the nonpartisan ballot can vote in either party’s runoff. But if you voted in a partisan primary you can only vote in the runoff for that party.

Voters must bring a valid photo ID issued by the state or federal government, such as a driver’s license or state voter ID card, student ID from a state university, employee ID from a government agency, passport, military ID or tribal ID.

In Whitfield County, Republican Party voters decide whether Joe Barnett or Greg Williams will be the party’s nominee in the Nov. 8 general election for the District 4 seat on the Whitfield County Board of Education. No Democrat qualified. The term is four years.

The post is elected countywide except for the city of Dalton.

At the state level, all of the action is on the Democratic Party ballot.

From the Statesboro Herald:

As of the close of the five days of in-person advanced voting at 5 p.m. Friday, 713 Bulloch County residents had voted in-person, and another 172 had turned in paper absentee ballots previously mailed to them. Absentee ballots can still be counted if returned to the county elections office by the time the polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The only race on the Republican ballot is the one between Travis Chance and Toby Conner for the GOP nomination for County Commission Seat 2-B, which is limited to voters in Commission District 2. But the Democratic ballot features runoffs for that party’s nomination for four statewide offices: lieutenant governor, secretary of state, insurance commissioner and labor commissioner.

Anyone who lives in Commission District 1 and voted a Republican ballot in May would not have anyone to vote for in this runoff election.

However, multi-seat Commission District 2 encompasses about two-thirds of Bulloch County’s population, and that is where much of the action is, in the race between Chance and Conner. They were the top two vote-getters among three candidates in the May primary, but neither secured 50%-plus of the votes then. The winner Tuesday will face Democratic candidate Jake Hallman in the Nov. 8 general election. Then the overall winner will join the Board of Commissioners in January, succeeding retiring Commissioner Walter Gibson, a Republican.

That’s a little goofy: One district that represents a third of the county population, and a second, multi-member district that represents two-thirds? Didn’t we get rid of those after the 2000 round of redistricting?

From WTVM:

Republicans are settling four congressional nominations, two of which fall in the heavily GOP-friendly 6th and 10th districts.

In the 10th Congressional District east of Atlanta, trucking company owner Mike Collins and former Democrat Vernon Jones are vying in a bitter runoff. Trump backs Jones, but Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, fresh off a primary triumph over Trump-backed David Perdue, has joined other GOP officeholders in backing Collins.

In the 6th District in Atlanta’s northern suburbs, emergency room physician Rich McCormick is trying to hold off Trump-backed lawyer Jake Evans. That race has revolved around accusations by each candidate that the other is insufficiently conservative.

Republicans have high hopes of knocking off 30-year Democratic incumbent Sanford Bishop in southwest Georgia’s 2nd District. The GOP is choosing between former Army officer Jeremy Hunt and real estate developer Chris West in that race.

Democrats are settling runoffs in two districts. In the coastal 1st District, Wade Herring is trying to keep Joyce Marie Griggs from again being the party’s nominee against incumbent Republican Buddy Carter. In the 10th District, Jessica Fore is running against Tabitha Johnson-Green, who was the Democratic nominee in the previous configuration of the district in 2018 and 2020.

From WTOC:

Everybody in Chatham County will have at least one non-partisan race on the ballot for the Chief Recorder’s Court Judge – but in the 5th district they will also decide their new school board representative.

They are expecting a larger turnout in that district because of the race.

Even though all polling locations will be open, staffing them will be a challenge. Billy Wooten, the Director of Elections in Chatham County, says he has never seen this large of a turnover for poll workers and managers.

Typically they would have more than 800 poll workers but today they will be closer to around 600 workers which they say is about as low as they can go – even some elections employees will likely have to fill in to make it happen.

“Summer is just a difficult time to put on an election, in a large county like ours where we have 90 plus polls that is a lot of moving parts and a lot of people,” Wooten said.

From the Associated Press via AccessWDUN:

Georgia Democrats will choose their nominee for secretary of state Tuesday in primary runoff elections, voting on a position that assumed new importance after former President Donald Trump cast doubt on Georgia’s 2020 election results by making false claims of widespread voter fraud.

State Rep. Bee Nguyen and former state Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler are vying for the chance to challenge incumbent Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the fall. Trump targeted Raffensperger for failing to overturn his narrow loss in the state. Raffensperger — who won the praise of some Democrats for refusing to bend to pressure from the former president — dispatched a challenge from a Trump-endorsed primary challenger without being forced into a runoff.

Tuesday’s races could be won or lost by small margins as turnout is expected to be very low. In contrast to the May 24 primary, which saw record early voting numbers, fewer than 165,000 people had voted early in person or by mail as of Monday. That includes about 100,000 Democrats and 60,000 Republicans.

The candidates facing off in the other statewide Democratic races are Charlie Bailey and Kwanza Hall for lieutenant governor, William Boddie and Nicole Horn for labor commissioner, and Janice Laws Robinson and Raphael Baker for insurance commissioner.

From the Augusta Chronicle:

Locally, former Richmond County tax commissioner Steven Kendrick and Augusta business owner Garnett Johnson are vying for the mayor’s seat. Stacy Pulliam and Von Pouncey are facing off in the Augusta Commission District 2 runoff race and in the Super District 10 commission race, incumbent John Clarke faces former commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle.

From the Gainesville Times:

Hall County Elections Director Lori Wurtz stressed: “Not all voters will have a ballot for the runoff.”

For example, you cannot vote in the Georgia House District 30 race if you do not live in that district. However, you can vote in the school board race regardless of which district you live in because Hall County school board races are voted on at large.

Early voting for the runoff elections ended June 17. A total of 2,063 people voted early in person.

The June 10 deadline for submitting an absentee-by-mail ballot has passed. The Hall County Elections Office issued 1,669 absentee ballots, accepted 586 and rejected five.

Wurtz explained why so few of the issued absentee ballots were accepted.

“A lot of these people either never send a ballot back, or they’ll show up on election day and cancel their absentee-by-mail (ballot) and vote in person on Election Day,” Wurtz said. “We send out usually quite a few more than what we receive back.”

13WMAZ highlights the fiery runoff election for Chair of the Macon Water Authority.

Gary Bechtel and Desmond Brown are competing to replace current chairman Sam Hart, who is retiring. We checked in with both the candidates.
Gary Bechtel is a planning and zoning commissioner, and has served on the Bibb County School Board, Bibb County Commission, and Macon-Bibb Commission, after consolidation. Bechtel also has experience serving on the Macon Water Authority.

Bechtel says the biggest hurdle the water authority faces is stormwater education, and transparency.

“When you have a utility such as stormwater. you need to be transparent as to what you’re using the dollars for. I think the authority is working on that,” Bechtel explained. “If I’m chairman, we’re going to make certain that the money raised from stormwater, as well as for water and sewer, that we’re transparent on what we’re doing with it.”

His opponent, Desmond Brown, also has experience on the authority.

Brown’s campaign consultant, Danny Glover, says Brown is not taking any interviews right now. Instead, Brown responded to our questions via email.

Brown resigned from his board seat this spring to run for chair. He resigned as the board investigated him for possible ethics violations, and after four days in jail. He was held in for contempt relating to a 2019 lawsuit.

When asked about his response to voters who may be concerned about his time in jail, he wrote: “Jail time for payment of debt is as Un-American as the Communist party. A debtors [sic] prison in a civil matter is unheard of in most US courts. Disobeying a judge’s order is subject to individual “mens rea” by a judge, rather than statute, and I’m not privy to the judges [sic] motivations for incarcerating me as a legitimate indigent individual.”

Lula City Council member Gene Bramlett reported his colleague to code enforcement, according to the Gainesville Times.

On Monday, June 13, Bramlett called the city’s code enforcement officer out to Council Member Denise Shockley’s property because the yard was full of junk, including appliances, batteries, metal goods and other blight.

Doug Forrester, the code enforcement officer, said Bramlett called him Monday, and he and City Manager Dennis Bergin met with Shockley to talk with her the same day.

Shockley declined to comment on the situation when contacted by The Times, and Bramlett could not be reached for comment.

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