captured liberated Virginia on December 9, 1775 as militias from Virginia and North Carolina defeated the redcoats at Great Bridge.
On December 9, 1867, a Constitutional Convention to draft a new state document convened in Atlanta. Among the 166 to 169 delegates elected to the Constitutional Convention were 33 or 37 African-American members – accounts vary.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
Governor Brian Kemp and Georgia Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Kathleen Toomey held a press conference yesterday to announce plans for the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.
“Our first shipments will be anywhere near close enough for anyone in our state to stop following the same health guidance that we’ve had in place for many months,” Kemp said. “The limited number of vaccine doses we will receive in the coming days will be going to the most vulnerable and those on the front lines of fighting COVID-19. That means residents of nursing homes and our health care workers.
“The general public will not be able to be vaccinated for months. We must all continue to still wear a mask. We must still wash our hands. We must continue more than ever to watch our distance.”
The vaccine is expected to arrive in Georgia within the next week to 10 days, but how many doses will be coming to the state is unclear. Toomey said “likely over several hundred thousand doses” are expected to come to Georgia initially in weekly batches, but she declined to give a specific number.
Kemp and Toomey both said they plan to take the vaccine early on once it is available for them. The governor said he would have to talk to the public health commissioner to determine the best time to get vaccinated.
“I certainly don’t want to take the vaccine from one of our front line health care workers or one of our most vulnerable,” Kemp said. “However, if it helps give confidence to our most vulnerable and front line health care workers for me to take the vaccine early, I will definitely be willing to do that.”
“We hope by certainly early January we would have all health care workers covered,” Toomey said.
Vaccinating 10 million Georgia residents will likely take until summer, Toomey said. She and the governor both plan to work to persuade people that the coronavirus shots are safe.
“I can say with great enthusiasm: I can’t wait to get vaccinated,” Toomey told reporters.
“I fully realize and appreciate how how tired everyone is,” the governor said. “Everyone wants to go back to the normal Georgia… But it is my belief we have lost too many loved ones, too many friends and neighbors, to give in to this virus.”
Georgia State Senate Republicans called for changes to absentee voting, according to AccessWDUN.
Republicans in Georgia’s state Senate are calling for an end to absentee voting without cause and want to ban ballot drop boxes, after an increase in mail voting helped propel Democrat Joe Biden to a narrow victory over President Donald Trump in the state.
The state Senate Republican Caucus said in a statement Tuesday that they would push for the changes the next time the legislature convenes, while also shooting down the idea of a special legislative session — which Trump has repeatedly called for in the hopes of subverting the election results. The 2021 legislative session is set to begin Jan. 11.
Senate Republicans are also calling for a photo ID requirement for absentee voters who have a specific reason to vote by mail.
The effort could backfire on Republicans once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. In years prior to 2018, Republicans frequently benefited from absentee voting by mail in Georgia.
Georgians have been able to vote absentee without an excuse since a Republican-controlled legislature introduced it in 2005, though it hadn’t been widely used until this year after the pandemic struck.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger tweeted this:
United States Senators David Perdue (R-Glynn County) and Kelly Loeffler (R-Atlanta) said they support the lawsuit by Texas over Georgia voting procedures, according to the AJC.
In the joint statement, the two senators say Trump has the right to ensure “full transparency and uniformity in the counting process.”
“This isn’t hard and it isn’t partisan. It’s American,” said the senators. “No one should ever have to question the integrity of our elections system and the credibility of its outcomes.”
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) helped with an online fundraiser for the Democratic candidates for Senate from Georgia, according to the Baltimore Sun.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who grew up in Baltimore, will headline a virtual Democratic fundraising event Monday night for Georgia’s pivotal Senate runoff, according to former Baltimore County Executive Ted Venetoulis.
Venetoulis, who served as the county executive between 1974 and 1978, is among the hosts of the 7:30 p.m. event to raise money for Georgia’s Jan. 5 U.S. Senate runoff, which will decide control of the Senate. Both of Georgia’s Senate seats are up for grabs, with Democrat Jon Ossoff running against Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Raphael Warnock running against Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
With Democratic President-elect Joe Biden set to take office in January and Democrats maintaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives, these two seats would give Democrats control of Congress and the White House. If both Democrats win, the Senate would be split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaking vote.
Suggested giving levels start at $500 and go up to $15,600, according to a flyer for the event.
“Getting the vote out is the critical element there. You need financial resources to do that,” Venetoulis said. “The more money they can get from outside of the district, which is essentially what the Republicans are doing, the more they can invest in their ground game and in their own campaign. It is critical.”
Cobb County isn’t the only one cutting the number of early voting locations for the runoff elections, according to NBC News.
Chatham County, the fifth most populous county with nearly 300,000 residents, will have five early voting location, down from six earlier this fall, according to information posted on the county’s website. County results show that Biden won by more than 18 points in Chatham, while the Democratic Senate candidates had at least a 17-point lead over the Republican incumbents.
Forsyth County, the eighth most populous county with more than 244,000 residents, will have five early voting locations, down from 11 ahead of the November election. Trump won that county by 22 points, with the Republican Senate candidates enjoying double-digit margins, too.
Hall County, the tenth most populous county with just over 200,000 residents, will have four early voting sites, down from eight. Trump won Hall by 43 percentage points, with Senate Republican candidates dominating in the Senate races there, too.
Asked about the cuts, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office said counties have control over their own election administration.
State tax collections were up in November over the same month in 2019, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Augusta Chronicle.
Georgia tax collections rose in November for the second consecutive month, the state Department of Revenue reported Tuesday.
The state brought in nearly $1.96 billion last month, an increase of $150.9 million – or 8.3% – over November of last year. That represented a much healthier bounce than the 1.8% increase in revenues in October.
The stronger numbers in November helped boost state tax receipts for the fiscal year thus far by $551.1 million, an increase of 5.7% over the first five months of fiscal 2020.
In the Peach State, the campaign is represented by different counsel than it has been elsewhere. The 64-page complaint is a linear, cogently presented description of numerous election-law violations, apparently based on hard data. If true, the allegations would potentially disqualify nearly 150,000 illegal votes in a state that Biden won by only 12,000.
To be sure, we have not yet heard a response to the specific claims from the state respondents, led by Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger. I should further note that I have seen only the complaint, not the underlying exhibits; I am in no position to evaluate the credibility of the sources or the accuracy of the lawyers’ number-crunching. That said, if the campaign had taken the exacting approach of this lawsuit from the beginning, rather than swinging wildly on farfetched fraud claims, it would have gotten more traction.
Bottom Line: 143,986 Allegedly Illegal Votes in a Race Biden Won by 12,000
In light of that history, it is no surprise that media coverage has peremptorily dismissed the Georgia claims as just the latest in a string of desperate, baseless allegations. Yet, they are more thoughtfully posited and worth pausing over. According to the complaint, the following were illegally permitted to vote:
• More than 66,247 people who were underage.
• At least 40,279 people who had moved across county lines at least 30 days before the election and failed to re-register in their new county, as state law requires.
• At least 15,700 people who had filed a national change of address form with the U.S. post office before Election Day.
• As many as 10,315 people who were deceased by the time of Election Day, including 8,718 who perished before the date the state accepted their vote.
• At least 4,926 people who registered to vote in another state after their Georgia registration date (indicating they were no longer citizens of Georgia).
• As many as 2,560 disqualified felons.
• At least 2,423 people who were not registered in state records.
• At least 1,043 voters who gave only a post-office box as their residential address, in violation of state law.
• At least 395 people who also cast ballots in a state other than Georgia (the campaign says this is a low-ball number, but it lacks access to the state data that would conclusively show a higher number, perhaps much higher).
• At least 98 people who registered after the state deadline for doing so.
Even assuming that there is some overlap among these categories, they total up to 143,986 illegal votes.
Outgoing State Rep. Tom McCall (R-Elberton) was elected President of the Georgia Farm Bureau, according to the Albany Herald.
McCall served in the Georgia House of Representatives for 26 years from Jan. 9, 1995, when he was sworn into office, until he retired from the legislature at the end of his 2020 term. As a state representative, McCall represented Georgia’s House District 33, which includes Elbert and Lincoln counties and portions of Madison, Wilkes and Columbia counties. McCall chaired the Georgia House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee from January 2005-2020. He also served on the House Game, Fish & Parks Committee, Natural Resources & Environment Committee and the Transportation Committee.
Incoming Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Mark Jones (D-Columbus) is firing a number of Assistant DAs in the office, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.
Incoming Gwinnett County Sheriff Keybo Taylor announced he was diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.
“Currently, I am in quarantine and have decided, in a preponderance of caution, to postpone my swearing-in ceremony and all subsequent engagements,” Taylor said in a statement posted on his Facebook page. “In the words of Dr. (Anthony) Fauci, we must allow the virus to establish the timeline.”
“Our collective goal is the safety of our neighbors, friends and families. Together, we can minimize the spread of the virus and have a much better 2021.”
Outgoing State Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville) is the sole finalist for the job of Forsyth County Administrator, according to AccessWDUN.
The Board of Commissioners took action at a work session on Tuesday, however they have not made their final vote or action. That is expected as early as December 22.
Tanner was previously a Georgia House Representative, leaving the post in 2020 to pursue an unsuccessful bid for Congress. Tanner previously served as the county manager for Dawnson County.
Sonny Deriso, past president of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, predicted a quick economic recovery for Georgia, according to The Brunswick News.
“We just shut down the economy because of pandemic reasons,” he said. “We are able to come back.”
Deriso began his presentation with a history of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, leading up to his explanation of what is happening nowadays and the future outlook.
The initiative to create a state chamber began in 1911 when officials drove throughout Georgia to promote interest. Four years later, a manufacturers alliance joined the effort to create the state’s chamber of commerce.
Deriso said chamber officials are working to improve the business climate in rural Georgia.
“Rural Georgia, we felt for many years, was neglected,” he said.
Broadband coverage and employee training in rural areas is among the organization’s priorities.
With the focus on job creation, Deriso said a priority is to make it easy for companies to do business in the state.
Floyd County Commissioners elected members Wright Bagby as Chair and Allison Watters as Vice Chair for 2021, according to the Rome News Tribune. Commissioners also voted to name Melanie Conrad as Chair of the Elections Board and for Vanessa Waddell to continue serving as interim chief elections clerk, according to the Rome News Tribune.
Rome City Commission adopted a new mask ordinance, according to the Rome News Tribune.
Because businesses can opt out of the ordinance, a provision included in Gov. Brian Kemp’s emergency order, commissioners urged local businesses to cooperate.
“It’s in their best interest,” City Commissioner Craig McDaniel said. “We’re trying to keep businesses open. It can’t just be the City Commission — we have to have our merchants support this.”
The ordinance — which goes into effect today — is similar to the city’s previous ordinance passed in September in that people are essentially required to wear a mask in public.
The ordinance will include a civil penalty. A person who does not comply with the order will get a warning and a chance to comply. If they refuse, they will be issued a $25 fine. A second offense would be a $50 fine, the maximum the governor’s emergency order allows.
Hall County public schools is temproarily closing four schools due to high numbers of absences due to COVID-19, according to the Gainesville Times.
East Hall High’s at-home instruction, which was originally scheduled for three days and was announced Dec. 4. East Hall will now continue online learning for the remainder of the week.
Those taking in-person classes at CW Davis, Cherokee Bluff High and Cherokee Bluff Middle will move to “blended” learning for three days from Wednesday, Dec. 9 through Friday, Dec. 11, meaning they will be required to complete assignments from home with the intent of coming back to school at a later time.
The district looks at two factors when determining when to shift from in-person to blended learning.
“No. 1, do we have enough adults in the building to continue with school?” [Director of Community Relations Stan Lewis] said. “And No. 2, is there any kind of evidence that we’ve got transmission occurring on campus?”