Category: Georgia Politics

24
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 24, 2020

President George Washington declared November 26, 1789 the first “public day of thanksgiving and prayer.”

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Go. Washington

On November 25, 1864, Sherman’s 14th and 20th Corps moved toward Sandersville while the 17th Corps fought briefly against a mix of Kentucky Militia, Georgia Military Institute cadets, and Georgia convicts.

On November 25, 1867, Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel filed a patent for dynamite. On November 25, 1895, Nobel wrote his will, leaving the equivalent of roughly $186 million (2008 dollars) to endow the Nobel prizes.

On November 26, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Fourth Thursday in November as the modern Thanksgiving celebration.

[I]t was not until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to fall on the last Thursday of November, that the modern holiday was celebrated nationally.

With a few deviations, Lincoln’s precedent was followed annually by every subsequent president–until 1939. In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt departed from tradition by declaring November 23, the next to last Thursday that year, as Thanksgiving Day. Considerable controversy surrounded this deviation, and some Americans refused to honor Roosevelt’s declaration. For the next two years, Roosevelt repeated the unpopular proclamation, but on November 26, 1941, he admitted his mistake and signed a bill into law officially making the fourth Thursday in November the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day.

On the same day, a Japanese navy fleet left port headed toward Pearl Harbor.

President John F. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on November 25, 1963.

Construction on the Georgia Dome began on November 24, 1989.

On November 24, 1992, Republican Paul D. Coverdell defeated Democratic incumbent Wyche Fowler in the runoff election for United States Senate. We are thankful that Georgia has runoff elections, not something silly like drawing straws or instant runoff voting.

Paul_D.Coverdell

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp‘s Press Office released the following as he certified this month’s General Elections results.

[F]rom the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at the Georgia State Capitol, Governor Brian P. Kemp delivered the following remarks regarding the results of the 2020 election in Georgia:

“Good afternoon. COVID-19 has introduced numerous challenges to county and state elections officials as they work to keep Georgia elections secure, accessible, and fair. Given the record number of absentee ballots and narrow margin in the November 3rd election for president in Georgia, I joined many in backing a hand recount and urging a thorough investigation into any voting irregularities. The Secretary of State oversaw a complete audit which revealed significant errors made in several counties, including: Floyd, Fayette, Douglas, and Walton.”

“It is important for Georgians to know that the vast majority of local election workers did their job well under unprecedented circumstances, and I thank them for their service. However, it’s quite honestly hard to believe that during the audit, thousands of uncounted ballots were found weeks after a razor-thin outcome in a presidential election. This is simply unacceptable. I have heard directly from countless Georgians. They expect better, and they deserve better.”

“It’s important to note that this audit only looked at ballots, not the signatures on the absentee applications or the signatures on the ballot envelopes. The Georgians I have heard from are extremely concerned about this, so I encourage Secretary Raffensperger to consider addressing these concerns. It seems simple enough to conduct a sample audit of signatures on the absentee ballot envelopes and compare those to the signatures on applications and on file at the Secretary of State’s Office.”

“This morning, the Secretary announced his support of strengthened photo ID requirements for absentee balloting. Voters casting their ballots in person must show photo ID, and we should consider applying that same standard to mail-in balloting. I have heard from many members of the General Assembly, and I appreciate their input and share their concerns. I look forward to working with Lt. Governor Duncan, Speaker Ralston, and members of both bodies to address the issues that have been raised over the last few weeks.”

“Earlier today, Secretary Raffensperger presented the certified results of the 2020 general election to my office. Following Judge Grimberg’s ruling yesterday, state law now requires the Governor’s Office to formalize the certification, which paves the way for the Trump campaign to pursue other legal options and a separate recount if they choose. Georgia has runoff elections for two U.S. Senate seats and a Public Service Commissioner scheduled to occur over the next several weeks. We demand complete explanations for all the discrepancies identified so that our citizens will have complete confidence in our elections. In the runoff election, we cannot have lost memory cards or stacks of uncounted ballots. We must have full transparency in all monitoring and counting. Every legal vote must be counted, and the security of the ballot box must be protected.”

“As Governor, I have the solemn responsibility to follow the law, and that is what I will continue to do. We must all work together to ensure citizens have confidence in future elections in our state. Thank you, God bless you, and may God continue to bless the Great State of Georgia.”

Maybe the third time will be a charm? Georgia begins the recount requested by the Trump campaign of all ballots in the General Election for President, according to the Associated Press via the Gainesville Times.

The Trump campaign on Saturday sent a formal request for a recount to the secretary of state’s office.

The counties can begin the recount at 9 a.m. Tuesday and must finish by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 2, Gabriel Sterling, who oversaw the implementation of the state’s new voting system for the secretary of state’s office, said during a video news conference Monday. The counties are to give public notice of when during that period they will be counting so monitors from political parties and any interested members of the public can be there to observe, Sterling said.

Hall County officials said they will be rescanning all ballots, which include early voting, election day ballots, absentee ballots by mail and provisional ballots.

This will take place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday and then 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It will resume at 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, as well as Tuesday, Dec. 1.

The ballots will be adjudicated Wednesday, Dec. 2, in the lower level of the government center, which is at 2875 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville.

This will be the third time the votes in the presidential race have been counted in Georgia. After the initial count following Election Day, Raffensperger selected the presidential race for an audit required by state law. Because of the tight margin, he said, the audit required every vote in that contest to be recounted by hand.

From the Rome News Tribune:

The Floyd County Board of Elections will be participating in a statewide recount beginning today on the second floor of the Floyd County Administration Building at 12 East 4th Ave.

The recount will take place from noon to 5 p.m. today and will resume on Wednesday at 9 a.m. and end by 2 p.m. The recount will continue Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the following week beginning Nov. 30 and will take place from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day with the possibility of longer hours depending on need in order to meet the deadline of Dec. 2 at midnight.

Floyd County Elections Board Chair Tom Rees said he expected the local recount to take no more than a day and a half.

The statewide process will not involve inspecting or matching signatures on absentee ballot envelopes, which Trump’s allies have called for to weed out any potential instances of mail-in voter fraud – though so far no evidence has been presented of such widespread fraud in Georgia.

From the Savannah Morning News:

Chatham County Elections Supervisor Russell Bridges said that the planning and organizing session will preclude the scanning of ballots scheduled to begin Wednesday. Scanner tests will be conducted Wednesday morning.

Scanning ballots for the recount should take about two days, Bridges said, but the plan is to break for the Thanksgiving weekend and resume the count on Monday.

The work will be done at the Elections Annex located at 10 Mall Terrace, Bldg. C.

From the AJC (1/2):

Cobb County began its recount of the presidential race Tuesday by testing the eight scanners that will be used to tally votes in order to make sure they are operating properly.

Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler said election workers will use a test deck of 100 ballots, 25 of which are hand-written and 75 from the ballot-marking devices used at precincts.

“We have to take the memory sticks out of the scanners and take them back to the main office,” Eveler said. “If they don’t come up with the same result as what we expect, then they can’t be used in the scanning.”

Eveler said she expects Cobb’s recount to continue until the deadline on Dec. 2. She said it was “time-consuming” but part of the normal process.

“We do have a short timeframe for the runoff, so we do have lot of work ahead of us,” she said, referring to the two Jan. 5 senate runoffs.

Cobb has already received more than 30,000 absentee ballot applications for that race.

From the AJC (2/2):

DeKalb County planned to start its part of Georgia’s last statewide recount on Tuesday morning.

And while details were still murky, local elections officials said the state was only permitting a certain kind of scanner to be used for the effort — meaning they had only nine machines available to scan some 373,000 ballots. DeKalb officials originally estimated they would have 50 scanners available.

“We only have nine scanners available to use for this recount effort, so we are having to be creative with our staffing and resources,” DeKalb County elections director Erica Hamilton said in a news release. “When you add in a pair of runoffs and a major holiday taking place at the same time, we are stretched thin to accomplish the recount by the designated timeline.”

Hamilton said the county has “moved swiftly to ask the Secretary of State for additional scanners to help us accomplish the recount.”

As of Tuesday morning, DeKalb planned to utilize around 100 staffers to batch and scan ballots during the recount. Operations are being held at a former Sam’s Club store on Turner Hill Road in Stonecrest, which was used as an early voting location and hosted DeKalb’s recent manual audit of presidential ballots.

From Riley Bunch, writing for the Valdosta Daily Times:

The unprecedented statewide hand audit of the presidential race upheld Biden as victor, with only a slight difference after initially untallied votes were discovered and added to the original machine count.

Varying margins between the initial machine tally, the audit and the ongoing recount were always expected, according to election officials.

Statewide voting implementation managers told reporters Monday the Georgia Secretary of State’s office expects the margin to vary again after the recount and likely be even closer to the original machine count because the process will be the same.

Absentee ballots will again be run through the scanner and flagged if the machine cannot read them. A bipartisan panel will adjudicate those ballots — the same process as the initial count after election night — and determine the intent of the voter.

Trump and his supporters have repeatedly requested re-verification of signatures on voters’ absentee ballots with the state’s voter registration file — a process that election officials said is unfounded at this stage.

Sterling said the office has found no widespread evidence that signatures were not matched properly and have “no reason to believe” there have been issues since signature-match rejection rates were as expected and voters were also allowed to “cure” their ballots if they were notified of an issue.

“Both parties knew the rules on this on the front end,” he said. “So now coming up with a generalized grievance afterwards that there may have been an issue because the person that I wanted to win didn’t is not a reason to have an investigation.”

From an explainer by the Ledger-Enquirer:

It’s unlikely the Georgia Secretary of State’s office will further examine absentee voter signatures despite calls from top Republicans ahead of the state’s recount, a top election official told reporters Monday.

Under state law, the identification or signature of voters is checked twice during the absentee voting process, and an accepted ballot can’t be traced back to a signed envelope once the two are separated. The process protects ballot secrecy.

But county election officials keep the signed envelopes for two years. Currently, there’s no state law requiring or outlining the process for rechecking envelope signatures against the state database after those signatures were already confirmed, said Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting system implementation manager.

“If a court orders it or if we have specific investigatory reasons, you do it,” he said of auditing the signatures. “If we make a precedent of ‘I don’t like the outcome. Therefore, we should start investigating random parts of the process.’ …It’s a bad precedent.”

In the meantime, counties are processing absentee ballot request for runoff elections, according to the AJC.

The recount comes as election officials in Georgia are preparing for a hotly contested Jan. 5 runoff election for two U.S. Senate seats that will determine which party controls the chamber beginning in January.

As of Monday, 762,000 people had already requested absentee ballots for the runoff – triple the number who voted absentee in the 2018 general election.

What’s more, some counties are also holding special elections next Tuesday. Fulton County, for example, will hold a special runoff election to fill the last few weeks of the unexpired term of Rep. John Lewis, who died in July, plus a runoff for state Senate District 39.

The Georgia State Elections Board adopted new regulations governing the processing of absentee ballots for the runoff elections, according to the AJC.

Some 762,000 people have already requested absentee ballots for the runoff, which features two U.S. Senate races that will determine which party controls the chamber beginning in January.

That’s already three times the number of absentee ballots cast in the 2018 general election, Ryan Germany, general counsel for the secretary of state’s office, told the election board. Some 1.3 million people cast absentee ballots in this month’s general election.

To accommodate those ballots, the board extended an authorization for counties across the state to provide drop boxes for absentee ballots — an authorization made last spring and renewed in July amid the coronavirus pandemic. Counties must use video recording to monitor the boxes and adopt other security measures.

The board also modified another temporary rule approved earlier this year. That rule allowed — but did not require — counties to begin opening and scanning absentee ballots before Election Day. The revised rule requires counties to begin processing absentee ballots a week and a day before Election Day. The votes would not be tabulated until after the polls close on Election Day.

Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Atlanta) will return to campaigning after testing negative for COVID-19, according to the Savannah Morning News.

“Tonight, Senator Loeffler received her second consecutive negative PCR test result. She continues to feel great, and has no symptoms. She looks forward to getting back out on the campaign trail,” Loeffler’s communications director Stephen Lawson announced on Monday.

Loeffler had self-isolated after getting mixed test results — two negative rapid tests, followed by a both a positive test and another polymerase chain reaction screening that was “inconclusive.”

With 50 Senate seats secured, Republicans need a win from Loeffler or Perdue over Jon Ossoff for control. If Warnock and Ossoff were to sweep the races resulting in a 50-50 Senate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would have the tie-breaking vote.

United States District Court Judge Richard Mark Gergel ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to abandon its plan for removing the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

U.S. District Judge Richard Mark Gergel sided with the state of South Carolina and the city of Augusta in finding the proposed plan did not meet the requirements of a 2016 federal law that if the lock and dam were removed, the pool of water must be maintained at the level it was at the time.

“In February of 2019, we all witnessed the damage caused when there was a drawdown to simulate water levels if the proposed plan moved forward,” Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis said in a statement. “The simulation caused the seawall to bend and demonstrated what would happen if one of Augusta’s greatest resources was demolished.”

The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission is soliciting proposals for growing and processing the plant, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Savannah Morning News.

The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission voted Monday to release a Request for Proposals (RFP) that will lead to the granting of two “Class 1” licenses and four “Class 2″ licenses to grow marijuana indoors and manufacture the oil derived from the plants.

The RFP is based on input from the state attorney general’s office and the Georgia Department of Administrative Services (DOAS).

Starting the licensing process is a major step forward for a program that has been slow to get off the ground since the General Assembly passed legislation in April of last year legalizing the cultivation of marijuana in Georgia, conversion of the leaf into cannabis oil and the sale of the drug to eligible patients.

Commission Executive Director Andrew Turnage, appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp last May, said the DOAS is expected to post the RFP on the Georgia Procurement Registry by Wednesday.

Glynn County Commissioners may postpone the effective date of short-term rental regulations they’re considering, according to The Brunswick News.

County commissioners approved new regulations governing short-term rental units in October with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2021. That timeframe might have been a bit optimistic, according to county officials.

The county finance committee will consider today whether to recommend the county commission push the date back to April 1, 2021.

“It’s going to be a complex new ordinance to administer, and all along we’ve been talking about outside third-party outsourcing of the administrative issue,” said commissioner Peter Murphy, the most vocal proponent of the regulations. “It’s a little complicated to be done in-house.”

To make sure there’s enough time for bidding the project out and implementing it, Bragdon writes that IT personnel want to delay the effected date to April 1, 2021.

“One could say maybe we should have anticipated this, but myself being the commissioner most intimately involved with the ordinance, I didn’t know until the vote that we were actually going to pass the ordinance,” Murphy said.

Most Gwinnett County government offices will be closed Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

23
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 23, 2020

Milledgeville-Old-Governor-Mansion-3

On November 23, 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman himself entered Milledgeville, where used the Governor’s Mansion as his headquarters.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Early Voting begins today in the Western Judicial Circuit, comprising Clarke and Oconee Counties, according to the Athens Banner Herald.Continue Reading..

20
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 20, 2020

On November 21, 1620 (November 11 under the calendar used then), the first governing document of the English colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Mayflower Compact, was signed by most of the male passengers of the Mayflower.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

The Georgia Trustees outlawed rum in the colony on November 21, 1733 after James Oglethorpe wrote them that it was responsible for sickness and death in Georgia. Two-hundred eighty-six years later, Richland Rum is being distilled with Georgia-grown sugar cane in Richland, Georgia.

North Carolina ratified the Constitution on November 21, 1789, becoming the twelfth state to do so.

On November 21, 1860 Governor Joseph Brown called a Secession Convention following the election of Abraham Lincoln as President.

The only major battle on Sherman’s March to the Sea occurred at Griswoldsville on November 22, 1864; on the same day, federal troops marched into Milledgeville.

November 21, 1922 was the first day of Rebecca Latimer Fulton’s service in the United States Senate from Georgia as the first woman to serve in that chamber.

Duane Allman was born in Nashville, Tennessee on November 20, 1946.

President John F. Kennedy lifted the naval blockade of Cuba on November 20, 1962, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.

President John F. Kennedy became the fourth President of the United States to be assassinated in office on November 22, 1963.

On November 20, 1975, Ronald Reagan announced he would run for President of the United States against incumbent Republican Gerald Ford. On May 4, 1976, Reagan won Georgia’s Presidential Primary with 68% over Ford.

On November 22, 1988, the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber was first unveiled publicly at Palmdale, California.

Back to the Future II was released on November 22, 1989.

Newt Gingrich was reelected Speaker of the House on November 20, 1996.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia’s unemployment rate hit its lowest level since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.Continue Reading..

19
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 19, 2020

Lincolnatgettysburg

President Abraham Lincoln delivered an 87-word speech at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

On November 19, 1864, as Sherman marched toward Savannah, the Georgia delegation to the Confederate Congress in Richmond, Virginia, sent a message to the state,

“Let every man fly to arms! Remove your negroes, horses, cattle, and provisions from Sherman’s army, and burn what you cannot carry. Burn all bridges and block up the roads in his route. Assail the invader in front, flank, and rear, by night and by day. Let him have no rest.”

The first issue of National Review magazine was published on November 19, 1955.

Apollo 12 landed on the moon on November 19, 1969.

Reagan Gorbachev 11191985

President Ronald Reagan met for the first time with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on November 19, 1985.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Vice President Mike Pence visits Georgia tomorrow. From the GAGOP:

On Friday, November 20th, Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Georgia for a bus tour. Beginning in Canton, Georgia, the Vice President will deliver remarks on the importance of fighting for conservative legislators at a Defend the Majority Rally with Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Following, the Vice President will travel to Gainesville, Georgia. There, the Vice President will highlight the historic accomplishments of the Trump Administration at a Defend the Majority Rally with Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

Friday, November 20, 2020

12:30 pm
Cherokee County Rally with Vice President Mike Pence – TICKETS HERE
Cherokee Conference Center (The Bluffs)
1130 Bluffs Parkway
Canton, GA 30114

3:15 pm
Hall County Rally with Vice President Mike Pence – TICKETS HERE
Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center
1855 Calvary Church Road
Gainesville, GA 30507

From AccessWDUN:

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office is alerting motorists that they may encounter traffic delays on Friday, Nov. 20 as Vice President Mike Pence arrives in the county for a campaign event for Georgia Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

The sheriff’s office said motorists should expect road closures between 2:30 and 5 p.m. on Calvary Church Road between Barber Road and Chicopee Woods Elementary School. Drivers who typically use Calvary Church Road at that time of day will need to plan alternate routes.

Early voting in the December 1, 2020 Runoff Election for District Attorney of the Western Judicial Circuit (Clarke and Oconee Counties) will open November 23d, according to The Oconee Enterprise.

The race is between Athens attorney Deborah Gonzalez, a Democrat, and Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney James Chafin, who is running without a party label.

All of Oconee’s polling places will be open on the day of the election. To locate one’s assigned precinct, visit mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do. To request an absentee ballot for the special runoff, voters will need to submit a paper absentee ballot application from ballotrequest.sos.ga.gov/. Be sure to print, sign and scan back to absentee@oconee.ga.usor fax to (706) 310-3486 or mail to P.O. Box 958 Watkinsville, GA 30677.

Early voting for the Dec. 1 runoff is from Nov. 23 to Nov. 25 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Oconee County Civic Center.

The next election will be Jan. 5 to decide the fate of two U.S. Senate seats and the Georgia Public Service Commissioner. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced last week that the statewide race was moved from Dec. 1 to Jan. 5. However, the state is unable to move the local DA election because it’s a runoff of a special election.

Candidates for the Georgia Public Service Commissioner are Republican Lauren “Bubba” McDonaldand Democrat Daniel Blackman.

Note Clarke County will have different locations for early voting than Oconee County, and may have different dates and times.

Gwinnett County runoff voters will have 23 absentee ballot drop boxes in which to deposit their ballots, according to the Patch.

An additional 285 previously uncounted ballots were found in Walton County, according to the Walton Tribune.

Walton was one of three counties where it was discovered that a processing error revealed some votes weren’t counted on election night. Locally, it was 284 ballots found at the Between precinct.

Lori Wood, chairwoman of the Walton County Board of Elections, said a memory card from one of two scanners at the polling place didn’t get uploaded, causing those votes not to be added to the tabulation.

Those votes netted 176 votes to President Donald Trump’s edge in Walton County, a Republican stronghold the Republican carried easily. Final numbers show Trump at 37,842 votes locally, or 74.06% of the 51,095 votes cast for president.

“The American people deserve to have honesty, transparency and full confidence in their elections, which is why President Trump and Georgia Republicans will not rest until every legal vote is counted,” Savannah Viar, the Georgia press secretary for Trump Victory, said in a statement.

From the Dalton Daily Citizen News:

Additional ballots were discovered in Douglas, Fayette, Floyd and Walton counties. The Secretary of State’s office has noted the uncovered votes were a result of “human error” on the part of county elections workers using the new voting system.

Aside from the four counties with issues, 112 counties were within single-digit deviations of their original machine counts and 58 counties found no difference at all, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

As of Wednesday morning, 4,968,000 of Georgia’s nearly 5 million ballots cast had been hand counted so far — a 12,781 vote margin now separating the two presidential candidates.

Election officials said Tuesday the state’s manual recount will not replace original machine results as the official tally of the race in Georgia. Douglas, Fayette, Floyd and Walton counties counties will rectify their results after the recount unearthed missing ballots which will be included in the final count.

Legal counsel for the Secretary of State’s office confirmed the full hand recount cannot replace the original machine count, Sterling said, while the audit is used to confirm the winner and not necessarily solidify the exact vote count.

The Trump campaign has been vocal that it will likely request another recount and have used the unearthed votes to back up unfounded claims of voter fraud.

From the Savannah Morning News:

Chatham County’s hand audit of the 2020 Presidential Election finished around noon on Wednesday.

Board of Elections Supervisor Russell Bridges said the results were “very close” to the original certified count. Some discrepancies in the count were expected, but not enough to change the outcome of the election.

In Georgia, a recount only happens when there is a close margin in an election — half a percentage point or less. Audits after an election are routine and often used by states to ensure that equipment and procedures counting the vote all worked properly.

In Georgia, a candidate can request a recount if the margin of victory is less than 0.5%.

A recount, if one is requested, would be conducted using the same scanners that read and tallied the unofficial results already released.

From the Macon Telegraph:

Douglas is one of four counties where election errors forced local officials to fix their final tally. The audit in Walton County found that a memory card of nearly 284 votes had not been uploaded. Floyd County workers had to rescan early and provisional ballots after 2,600 uncounted votes were found. Fayette County election officials found a memory card of nearly 2,800 votes that they had to upload to its final tally.

The errors in these counties cut Biden’s lead by more than 1,000 votes statewide. Barring issues like these, the scanned totals from counties will not change. The purpose of Georgia’s audit under current law is to confirm the outcome of the election, not the exact margins.

The Trump campaign could request a formal recount if Biden’s margin of victory is within 0.5% after the state certifies its election results. Counties will pay for both the cost of the audit and a recount if Trump requests it, Sterling said.

From the Augusta Chronicle:

By late Tuesday afternoon, the boards of election in [Richmond and Columbia] counties had submitted their official ballot retabulations to the Georgia secretary of state’s office, and compared the vote totals to the totals first submitted shortly after the election.

In Richmond County, the original vote total of 87,530 dropped during the audit to 87,525, owing to five unaccounted-for ballots, said Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey.

“Our strongest suspicion” of how it happened, she said, was the audit team’s failure to report every write-in vote. But with 668 batches of ballots still in her office’s custody, “we’re sure they’re still in there somewhere,” Bailey said.

Candidates’ totals also changed slightly. In Richmond County, which went for Biden, the president-elect lost 61 votes, giving him an audit total of 59,063. Trump picked up 65 more votes for an audit total of 26,846.

Columbia County candidate totals also changed during the audit. Trump, who won the county, picked up 31 votes for an audit total of 50,044. Biden lost 40 votes for a new total of 29,196.

The total number of ballots, however, stayed the same. Every one of Columbia County’s 80,973 ballots was accounted for, Gay said.

One ballot that was briefly unaccounted for during the audit was found stuck to the back of another ballot, said Larry Wiggins, the chairman of the Columbia County Board of Elections.

Later, one box came up a ballot short and another box showed one ballot extra in its previously reported contents, but the totals reconciled after the last batch of ballots was counted early Monday afternoon.

Savannah’s Board of Aldermen and city staff will discuss the FY 2021 budget, according to the Savannah Morning News.

In a Nov.16 letter presenting the proposed 2021 budget and capital improvement plan, Acting City Manager Michael Brown said the city is facing two crises: A public health emergency and the resulting economic recession affecting residents, visitors and businesses.

“We are faced with dramatic increases in unemployment, food insecurity, housing insecurity, and economic distress,” Brown wrote. “These crises directly and negatively affect city services, revenues and expenditures.”

Brown wrote that the budget has been balanced with a combination of actions including expenditure reductions, use of fund balance reserves, minimal fee changes and using $10.5 million from a capital fund holding account.

“As we saw in 2020, our revenue options are limited, often not covering costs to provide basic municipal services and cannot be the total solution to dealing with this gap,” Brown wrote.

Republican U.S. Senators David Perdue (R-Glynn County) and Kelly Loeffler hold a $28 million dollar fundraising advantage over their Democratic opponents, according to CNN.

Political groups have already spent or reserved more than $126 million to advertise for the 63-day campaign, with Republicans exceeding Democrats $77.2 million to $49.3 million, according to Kantar’s Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Loeffler leads the pack, spending or reserving nearly $42 million in ads for her runoff race, far more than the $19 million she spent up until the general election November 3. Warnock has booked $24.4 million for ads in the runoff race, Perdue has set aside $19.3 million and Ossoff has marked $13.7 million.

“The outpouring of support for Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue has been tremendous, but we have the fight of our lives on our hands,” said Loeffler spokesman Stephen Lawson. “We need every single dollar, every single supporter, every single Republican vote because Chuck Schumer, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are stopping at nothing to radically transform our country into a socialist state.”

Republicans led the advertising battle in the general election with the aid of the Senate Leadership Fund, a Super PAC aligned to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Loeffler, the co-owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream who is married to New York Stock Exchange chairman Jeffrey Sprecher, also spent $23 million of her own money in the general election, but she does not plan on spending any more in the runoff race, according to Lawson.

Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Atlanta) repeated her demand that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger resign, according to Fox News.

“We have to make sure that every legal vote is counted, and I also believe that we also have to hold officials accountable. Look, I came out of the private sector. People held me accountable as an executive,” Loeffler told “America’s Newsroom.”

When host Sandra Smith asked Loeffler whether she is calling for the resignation of the Georgia secretary of state, Loeffler replied, “Yes, I am.”

More than 3,000 uncounted ballots turned up in Georgia as the state is conducting an audit of the 2020 presidential election. As the hand-tallying continues, officials in Fayette County unearthed 2,755 ballots that had not been included in the original count.

Chatham County Democrats rallied to get out the vote for runoff elections, according to WSAV.

Chatham County Commission Chairman-elect Chester Ellis, joined by other elected Democrats, voiced their support for Jon Ossoff and Savannah native Rev. Raphael Warnock in the Senate runoffs at a rally outside of the Savannah Civic Center on Wednesday.

“Health care is on the ballot and we must make sure that [for] everyone in Chatham County, their health is taken care of,” said Ellis. “The best candidates for that are Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.”

Ellis also said social security and infrastructure are other important issues he hopes can be addressed if Ossoff and Warnock are elected into office.

“National attention will come back to Chatham County in January because we will play an utmost important part in this election of the senators who will work with the president to get the agenda done for the people,” Ellis said.

Athens-Clarke County Commissioners voted to create a historic district encompassing western downtown Athens, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

18
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 18, 2020

Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 18, 1863.

Carl Vinson was born on November 18, 1883 in Baldwin County, Georgia. At noon on that day, U.S. and Canadian railroads implemented four time zones for the first time.

Efficient rail transportation demanded a more uniform time-keeping system. Rather than turning to the federal governments of the United States and Canada to create a North American system of time zones, the powerful railroad companies took it upon themselves to create a new time code system. The companies agreed to divide the continent into four time zones; the dividing lines adopted were very close to the ones we still use today.

Most Americans and Canadians quickly embraced their new time zones, since railroads were often their lifeblood and main link with the rest of the world. However, it was not until 1918 that Congress officially adopted the railroad time zones and put them under the supervision of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Mickey Mouse debuted in a black-and-white film called “Steamboat Willie” on November 18, 1928.

On November 18, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled from Washington, DC to Savannah, Georgia by train for Georgia’s Bicentennial and delivered a speech at Municipal Stadium.

Carl Vinson was honored on his 81st birthday in Milledgeville, Georgia on November 18, 1964; Vinson did not run for reelection in 1964 and retired after 50 years in office.

President Richard M. Nixon flew into Robins Air Force Base for Carl Vinson’s 90th birthday on November 18, 1973; on the trip he announced the next American nuclear supercarrier would be named USS Carl Vinson.

Nixon Vinson 1973

President Richard Nixon, Secretary of the Navy John Warner, Carl Vinson, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird on November 18, 1973. John Warner would later be the namesake of USS John Warner, a Virginia-class nuclear submarine.

On November 18, 1989, Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey signed the Abortion Control Act, the first abortion restrictions enacted after Roe v. Wade.

The private railcar used by FDR for many trips during his presidency was loaned by Norfolk Southern to the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth this weekend. From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s private rail car during his days as governor of New York and through the first years of his presidency, known as the Marco Polo, now resides in Duluth.

This past Saturday Norfolk Southern honored its rich history by officially loaning the Marco Polo train car to the Southeastern Railway Museum — Georgia’s official transportation history museum. The exchange comes just days after the presidential election in the U.S., making the car’s history that much more significant.

Roosevelt rented the almost-new car from the Pullman Company in 1927 and had it modified to meet his special needs in coping with his disability. Only one of those modifications, a brass rail above the president’s bed, remains in place today. Roosevelt most likely used this rail to help himself out of bed.

The loan of the Marco Polo to the Southeastern Railway Museum comes on the eve of Norfolk Southern’s relocation of its headquarters to Atlanta, expected to be completed by the summer of 2021. Norfolk Southern’s purpose for the loan was to begin sharing the historical freight rail past with local communities, and claim a stake in the ground as neighbors in the Duluth community.

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The results of the statewide audit/recount will not change the official election results, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..

17
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 17, 2020

On November 17, 1732, the first English headed to colonize Georgia set off from Gravesend, England, down the Thames. Their supplies included ten tons of beer.

On November 17, 1777, Congress submitted the Articles of Confederation to the states for ratification.

Abraham Lincoln began the first draft of the Gettysburg Address on November 17, 1863.

Herman Talmadge was sworn in as Governor of Georgia on November 17, 1948, ending the “Three Governors” controversy. Click here for a review of the “Three Governors” episode by Ron Daniels.

Richard Nixon declared before a television audience, “I’m not a crook,” on November 17, 1973.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Vice President Mike Pence will campaign in Georgia to help the GOP retain two seats in the United States Senate, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..

16
Nov

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.”

13
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 13, 2020

James Oglethorpe left London on November 15, 1732 headed to a Thames River port named Gravesend, where he would board the ship Anne and lead the first colonists to Georgia.

On November 15, 1777, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were adopted in York, Pennsylvania.

Congress was a single house, with each state having one vote, and a president elected to chair the assembly. Although Congress did not have the right to levy taxes, it did have authority over foreign affairs and could regulate a national army and declare war and peace. Amendments to the Articles required approval from all 13 states. On March 2, 1781, following final ratification by the 13th state, the Articles of Confederation became the law of the land.

Edward Langworthy of Savannah, Edward Telfair, and John Walton signed the Articles of Confederation for Georgia.

President George Washington returned to the City of Washington on November 13, 1789, ending the first Presidential tour.

On the same day, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his friend Jean-Baptiste LeRoy, in which he said,

“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Stephen Heard Conan OBrien

On November 15, 1815, Patriot leader Stephen Heard died in Elbert County, GA. Heard served on Georgia’s Executive Council during part of the American Revolution and as its President from 1780 to 1781. He later served in the Georgia House of Representatives, as a judge in Elbert County, and as a delegate to Georgia’s 1975 Constitutional Convention. The above portrait of Conan O’Brien Stephen Heard hangs in the basement (pied a terre) level of the Georgia Governor’s Mansion.

General Sherman’s army prepared for the March to the Sea on November 14, 1864. On November 15, 1864, Sherman’s army left Atlanta on its March to the Sea.

On November 15, the army began to move, burning the industrial section of Atlanta before leaving. One witness reported “immense and raging fires lighting up whole heavens… huge waves of fire roll up into the sky; presently the skeleton of great warehouses stand out in relief against sheets of roaring, blazing, furious flames.” Sherman’s famous destruction of Georgia had begun.

On November 13, 1865, the United States government issued the first Gold Certificates.

The Georgia General Assembly adopted a resolution against ratifying the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution on November 13, 1866.

In deciding not to ratify the 14th Amendment, the General Assembly adopted a committee report explaining that: “1. If Georgia is not a State composing part of the Federal Government known as the Government of the United States, amendments to the Constitution of the United States are not properly before this body. 2. If Georgia is a State composing part of the Federal Government … , these these amendments are not proposed according to the requirements of the Federal Constitution, and are proposed in such a manner as to forbid the legislature from discussing the merits of the amendments without an implied surrender of the rights of the State.”

Excavation began for a new Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on the site of the former City Hall/Fulton County Courthouse on November 13, 1884.

Walt Disney released “Fantasia” on November 13, 1940.

Georgia Governor and Constitutional Commission Chair Ellis Arnall moved that a home rule provision be included in the new draft of the state Constitution and his motion passed 8-7 on November 13, 1944.

On November 14, 1944, the Constitutional Convention working on a revised document for Georgia reversed its position on home rule that had been adopted the previous day on the motion of Governor Ellis Arnall.

On November 13, 1956, the United States Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that struck down a law requiring segregation on buses in Montgomery, Alabama.

On November 15, 1977, President Jimmy Carter hosted the Shah of Iran in Washington, where they spent two days discussing U.S-Iranian relations.

Ronald Reagan announced his campaign for the Republican nomination for President of the United States on November 13, 1979.

“The people have not created this disaster in our economy; the federal government has. It has overspent, overestimated, and over regulated. It has failed to deliver services within the revenues it should be allowed to raise from taxes. In the thirty-four years since the end of World War II, it has spent 448 billion dollars more than it has collection in taxes – 448 billion dollars of printing press money, which has made every dollar you earn worth less and less. At the same time, the federal government has cynically told us that high taxes on business will in some way “solve” the problem and allow the average taxpayer to pay less. Well, business is not a taxpayer it is a tax collector. Business has to pass its tax burden on to the customer as part of the cost of doing business. You and I pay the taxes imposed on business every time we go to the store. Only people pay taxes and it is political demagoguery or economic illiteracy to try and tell us otherwise.”

“The key to restoring the health of the economy lies in cutting taxes. At the same time, we need to get the waste out of federal spending. This does not mean sacrificing essential services, nor do we need to destroy the system of benefits which flow to the poor, the elderly, the sick and the handicapped. We have long since committed ourselves, as a people, to help those among us who cannot take care of themselves. But the federal government has proven to be the costliest and most inefficient provider of such help we could possibly have.”

“I believe this nation hungers for a spiritual revival; hungers to once again see honor placed above political expediency; to see government once again the protector of our liberties, not the distributor of gifts and privilege. Government should uphold and not undermine those institutions which are custodians of the very values upon which civilization is founded—religion, education and, above all, family. Government cannot be clergyman, teacher and parent. It is our servant, beholden to us.”

“We who are privileged to be Americans have had a rendezvous with destiny since the moment in 1630 when John Winthrop, standing on the deck of the tiny Arbella off the coast of Massachusetts, told the little band of pilgrims, “We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.”

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on November 13, 1982 in Washington, DC.

On November 13, 2006, groundbreaking began for a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Three astronauts with connections to Georgia – Eric Boe, Robert Kimbrough, and Sandra Magnus – were aboard the space shuttle Endeavor when it lifted off on November 14, 2008.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp announced that Georgia was named top state in which to do business for the eighth consecutive year by Site Selection magazine.

As the world’s greatest golfers teed off today at the Masters Tournament in Augusta to compete for the prized Green Jacket, Governor Brian P. Kemp announced that the State of Georgia has shattered its own record by being named No. 1 for business climate for the eighth consecutive year by Site Selection magazine.

In 2019, Georgia became the only state to earn this distinction seven consecutive times in the history of Site Selection’s rankings, and it is now the only state to receive the honor eight times in a row. The announcement presentation followed a tour of Bridgestone Golf’s headquarters and research and development facility in Covington, Georgia, where the Governor was also presented with golf balls stamped with the “No. 1 State” artwork to commemorate the occasion.

“I’m so proud that Georgia has earned this top business distinction for a record-setting eight years, and it is an honor to accept this award from Site Selection magazine,” said Governor Kemp. “Our top-notch workforce development programs and pro-business environment, along with our strong logistics infrastructure, have further solidified the Peach State as the best place in the nation to live, work, raise a family, and start or grow a business. I thank our partners in both the public and private sectors, our world-class economic development team, and the hardworking Georgians throughout the state who helped us beat our own record with this unprecedented achievement.”

Site Selection magazine is an internationally circulated business publication covering corporate real estate and economic development. The publication’s rankings are 50% based on an index of seven criteria and 50% on the input received from a survey of independent site location experts who are asked to rank states based on their recent project experiences. This year, Georgia shares this top ranking with North Carolina.

“Our readers are keenly interested in our annual state business climate ranking, because they seek locations with the greatest prospects for success,” said Site Selection Editor in Chief Mark Arend. “Georgia’s eighth consecutive Top State Business Climate win reminds them that a Georgia location will contribute to their productivity and profitability long term.”

In a survey published with the rankings, workforce skills were the most important criteria to site selectors for the fifth consecutive year, with workforce development programs coming in second place. Transportation infrastructure, ease of permitting and regulatory procedures, along with state and local taxes completed the top five issues of importance to the process.

Site Selection magazine joins Area Development magazine in naming Georgia the top state for business for 2020 – the eighth and seventh consecutive year, respectively, that both publications have awarded Georgia the top ranking. Earlier this week, Governor Kemp also shared that Georgia remains on a record pace for economic development investments and job creation in the state during fiscal year 2021, increasing investments by 56% and jobs by 45% compared to the same timeframe last year.

Governor Kemp also said that further cuts to state agency budgets are unlikely, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Speaking at Bridgestone Golf in Covington, Kemp said his administration does not “see a need for across-the-board cuts again this coming year” after state lawmakers squeezed agency budgets by about $2.2 million starting July 1.

The governor’s comments came as he touted Georgia’s economic growth over the past year despite the harm inflicted by COVID-19, which has seen an uptick in positive case rates in recent weeks as officials and health experts brace for potential outbreaks during the winter holiday season.

State lawmakers passed a $25.9 billion budget for the 2021 fiscal year after Kemp initially ordered all agencies to reduce their budgets by 14% in May, then scaled back those cuts to 10% in late June as declines in tax revenues spurred by the pandemic showed signs of slowing.

Since then, job growth has picked up in Georgia amid relaxed COVID-19 business restrictions while economic-development projects attracted more than $4.3 billion in investments from July through October, marking a 56% increase over the same four-month period last year, Kemp said.

Georgia has also held onto its AAA bond rating throughout the pandemic, another factor Kemp said gives him confidence more budget cuts won’t be needed when lawmakers meet in January to start hashing out revisions for this year’s fiscal budget and draft the budget for the 2022 fiscal year.

Governor Kemp issued a Writ of Election (Executive Order #11.12.20.01), ordering a Special Election for District Attorney for the Griffin Judicial Circuit. The seat was vacated by the election of former DA Ben Coker to the Superior Court for the same circuit. Gov. Kemp appointed Marie Broder as District Attorney and the election for the remainder of the term will be held Tuesday, February 9, 2021.

File under: Least Surprising News of 2020. Democrat Stacey Abrams may run for Governor in 2022, according to The Grio.

Stacey Abrams is being heralded for helping to turn Georgia blue to boost the Biden-Harris ticket and may now be cementing her own political future. Sources close to Abrams say she is set to run for governor of the Peach State once more.

“Stacey Abrams intends to run for governor again,” Wendy Davis, a Democratic National Committee member who is on the executive committee of the Georgia Democratic Party, told the Daily Beast. “I think that is a secret to no one.”

Davis said it was a given that Abrams was the default front runner.

“Everyone in Democratic circles has the expectation that she will be the Democratic nominee in two years for governor,” she said.

DuBose Porter, the former Georgia Democratic Party chairman, added to the chorus of those who believe that Abrams’ ascension as governor is merely an unspoken certainty.

“In my opinion, she would like to be governor of Georgia,” Porter said. “Stacey Abrams is about getting the work done.”

Abrams has continued her push to keep voters energized and committed to voting in the Georgia runoff, raising $6M and counting after just one tweet.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is quarantining himself after his wife tested positive for COVID-19, according to WSB-TV.

Tricia Raffensperger tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from traveling, sources close to the Secretary of State told Channel 2′s Justin Gray. Brad Raffensperger and his staff have all gone for testing. Those test results have not been released yet.

Raffensperger most recently made an appearance at a news conference in front of the Capitol on Wednesday, where he announced that Georgia will conduct a by-hand recount.

Raffensperger was surrounded by county election officials and other people involved with the recount, as well as reporters.

Georgia State Senator David Lucas (D-Macon) is hospitalized with COVID, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Lucas’ wife, Elaine, a Macon-Bibb County commissioner, is currently quarantining while she awaits test results, according to WMGT.

Lucas was re-elected to District 26 on Nov. 3, which covers parts of Bibb, Houston and Jones counties as well as all of Twiggs, Wilkinson, Hancock and Washington counties. He served in the Georgia State House of Representatives from 1974 through 2011. He was elected to the State Senate in 2012.

How will Georgia’s ballots be hand-counted? The AJC has an explainer:

Votes will be recounted in batches of 100 or less, with a two-person audit board handling each batch. Most counties will have multiple audit boards running at once to expedite the process. The state will recommend how many each should have in order to finish the count by the Wednesday midnight deadline.

“I want you to be very deliberate in your counting,” Vander Roest said. “Take your time.”

Each audit board will work at its own table, where staffers will stack the ballots by candidate. There will be separate stacks for votes for President Donald Trump, President-elect Joe Biden, Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen, write-in candidates and ballots with no presidential vote or an “overvote” — when a voter selects more than one candidate in a race requiring a single choice. Both members of the audit team should be counting together to verify the accuracy of their count, said Ginny Vander Roest, an election implementation manager with election audit software company VotingWorks.

Once each batch is complete, vote totals will be logged and ballots will be moved to secure containers for safekeeping.

“These ballots are the currency of the election,” Chris Harvey, the state’s elections director, said in a Thursday training webinar. “They need to be protected at all times.”

Audit boards are only checking for presidential vote selection; they are not counting any down-ballot races or verifying signatures.

The Wall Street Journal also has an account of how ballots will be counted.

How will Georgia recount 5 million ballots by hand?

Georgia’s new voting machines provide a paper printout of each person’s vote, so each county’s board of elections has a paper record of every vote. An election worker will visually review each ballot by hand, call out the vote, and another worker will record it.

Who will conduct the recount?

Election workers in the state’s 159 counties will handle the recount, with direction from the secretary of state’s office.

When will it be completed?

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, is required to certify the election by Nov. 20. He said he expected all counties to complete their by-hand recounts in time for him to meet that deadline.

Who pays for the recount?

A spokesman for the secretary of state said the cost must be borne by the county election boards. A spokeswoman for Fulton County, Georgia’s most populous county, said it hadn’t figured out how it would pay for it. The county’s election costs have already skyrocketed because of Covid-19 measures and setting up expanded voting stations.

The counting begins today in Metro Atlanta, according to the AJC.

Metro Atlanta elections officials will once again be in the national electoral spotlight as they brace to begin the labor-intensive process Friday of hand-counting all ballots cast in the presidential election, without knowing how much money or manpower they will need to complete the task.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Wednesday told all counties to begin their counts no later than 9 a.m. County elections supervisors attended a virtual training session Thursday explaining details of how the recount will work, such as which ballots to count first (absentee) and how to set up public viewing areas.

Counties that need to use Friday for training purposes and to set up the venues can begin recounting ballots on a later day.

Each of Georgia’s 159 counties will be individually responsible for determining staffing needs and paying for their recount. Each has to finish the job by midnight Wednesday.

Raffensperger’s office has promised additional resources for counties who need manpower.

None of the elections officials in Metro Atlanta on Thursday could give The Atlanta Journal-Constitution even a rough estimate of how much they think the process will cost.

More from the AJC:

Election workers will retrieve sealed containers filled with ballots and then place them on tables, where two people at each table will start going through them.

These people, called an audit team, must be county election employees or Georgia residents recruited to review ballots. Many counties plan to call back Election Day poll workers for the job.

One member of the audit team will look at a ballot, call out the name of the presidential candidate chosen, then hand the ballot to the other member of the team, who will also say the name of the candidate.

If they both agree, the ballot will be stacked in a pile labeled for that candidate. If there’s a disagreement over which candidate the voter picked, ballots go into another pile to be decided by a Vote Review Panel, made up of a Democrat, Republican and designee of the election director.

After the ballots are sorted into stacks, the audit team will count up the votes for each candidate, write them on a form and return the ballots to their containers. Then those totals will be entered into laptops by different election workers at another table.

The recount is open to the public. Anyone can watch from an observation area. Official monitors appointed by political parties will be able to get closer, but they’re not allowed to talk to audit teams or touch ballots.

The Trump campaign raised objections to ballot security and poll watcher rules late Thursday, but the secretary of state’s office gave no sign it would change recount procedures.

Here’s one the most interesting stories about alleged voter fraud in the election from the Covington News:

Newton County elections officials today denied President Donald Trump’s campaign’s claim that “someone” used a dead Covington voter’s information to cast an illegal ballot in the Nov. 3 election.

The registration of the late voter, James E. Blalock Jr., was canceled in the same year he died in 2006, county election officials said.

His widow is legally registered under the name Mrs. James E. Blalock Jr. rather than her own first name and has voted regularly using that name since 1992, according to records from the county election office.

Newton County elections director Angela Mantle said Blalock’s widow has regularly voted legally under the name Mrs. James E. Blalock Jr. since 1992 — most recently using an absentee ballot in the Nov. 3 election.

Mantle said her office’s records show Mr. Blalock’s name was removed from the voter database three months after he died in 2006.

“In times past widows often continued to refer to themselves as ‘Mrs.’ instead of using their first name,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the Secretary of State’s office accepts Mrs. Blalock’s ballot with the signature of “Mrs. James E. Blalock Jr.” The signature is in the system and is unique and totally distinct from her late husband’s signature, he said.

She also is required to produce other identifying information, such as her driver’s license number, when she casts a ballot, Johnson said.

From the Savannah Morning News:

Chatham elections officials expressed confidence that all of the county’s ballots can be manually reconfirmed by the Nov. 20 deadline.

During a Wednesday-afternoon press conference, Board of Elections Chairman Tom Mahoney said that Chatham is the only county statewide that already conducted a hand recount using ballots generated by Georgia’s new voting machines introduced this year, providing local elections workers with valuable experience.

“Chatham County is the only county that has had experience with the new system with a hand recount,” Mahoney said, referring to the recount ordered by a judge in the Aug. 11 primary-runoff race for Georgia House District 163 between Democrats Derek Mallow and Anne Allen Westbrook. Following the hand recount, Mallow prevailed by a mere 19 votes.

However, Mahoney went on to say that the recount ordered by Raffensperger is a much greater task, as some 25 times more votes were cast in the Nov. 3 general election than in the Aug. 11 election. Considering that it took “several days” to complete the Mallow-Westbrook runoff recount, Mahoney said he expects that “it’s going to take much more than a few days” to complete this manual recount.

Chatham County Elections Supervisor Russell Bridges noted that his experience in the Mallow-Westbrook runoff recount will be helpful, but that arranging the presidential manual recount will require fast action.

“I’ve done a hand recount,” Bridges said, while acknowledging that until Wednesday morning he and his staff had no idea they would have to repeat this task at a presidential level before the Nov. 20 certification deadline, and instead had planned to carry out a risk-limiting audit.

Mahoney explained that each team is comprised of four people: two elections workers, a Democrat, and a Republican.

Each hand-recount quartet sits at a long table with an election worker at one end, who picks up a cast ballot and reads off the name of the candidate who received a vote, before passing the ballot to the Democrat and Republican sitting in the middle of the table so they can confirm the vote. Next the ballot is handed to the other election worker at the opposite end of the table, who tallies the confirmed vote. The entire procedure will be carried out with social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions.

The process is “monotonous”, Mahoney said, but “we’re just going to have to be very careful and methodical.”

But note that in the first hand recount, there was a point in which the County left out 1000 votes from the vote total. From the Savannah Morning News, dated September 9, 2020:

Human error led to about 1,000 absentee ballots being missed in the hand recount for Georgia House District 163 runoff and has delayed recount results.

Elections Supervisor Russell Bridges confirmed the recount snafu on Wednesday. The recount of 5,338 ballots began Sept. 2 and was nearing its conclusion Wednesday afternoon. The process is meant to verify that Derek Mallow defeated Anne Allen Westbrook by 20 votes in the Aug. 11 Democratic primary runoff.

The ballots initially missed during the recount were tabulated following the runoff, according to Bridges.

“There is no mystery here,” Bridges said. “We are the first in the state to go through this process and we are learning and improving as we go.”

The news of the unprocessed ballots came after candidates had been told Tuesday that the recount was complete.

“Then we discovered while reviewing a spreadsheet (of the recount details) that it did not tabulate and we had not selected all the (absentee) ballots,” Bridges said.

“There is no one to blame here. I thought we were done, but in the review we did find the oversight.”

From WRCB:

In Catoosa County, officials said that process will begin Friday at 9:00 am.

The Catoosa County Public Information Officer John Pless said the Catoosa County Election Commission will have six review tables, with two people at each table.

“There’s going to be Democrats and Republicans on those panels,” assured Pless.

He added that after the panels look at the ballots, those ballots will go to another review table to be certified.

“If there is any discrepancy it needs to be found,” said Vaughn, “I think this is the appropriate way to find it.”

From the Gainesville Times:

Lori Wurtz, Hall County’s elections director, said that all 91,023 ballots cast in the presidential race in Hall would be reviewed by a team of three people. Each team has one Republican, one Democrat and one designee of the county’s elections board.

Wurtz has contacted local parties about their representatives for the teams. She said the county will have six to 10 teams, although all teams may not be working at once.

Wurtz said it was still undetermined how long the recount would take or how much it could cost. Poll workers, who would serve as elections board designees on the teams, would be paid, while representatives from local parties would be volunteers.

“We have over 90,000 ballots that will have to be looked at and tallied by hand, and that’s a really big job, which is what prompted me to go ahead and try to take care of anything that I can ahead of time as I’m awaiting further direction from the secretary of state’s office,” she said Wednesday.

The process will be open for observation from the public, Wurtz said. Those interested can walk in to the office at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville. Counting begins at 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 13, and Wurtz said it would likely go until at least 5 p.m. Friday. Weekend shifts are also expected, she said.

The batches of ballots will begin in sealed boxes, which will be taken to the count team, Wurtz said. The teams will sort ballots by candidate.

“Once all the sorting has happened, then the count will be taken and recorded. It won’t be a tally. It will be a numerical count,” Wurtz said. “Then, once that batch has finished and the box has been completely counted, then it will be returned to the box. The box will be sealed and placed on a cart in full view of the public, and it will remain there until the end of the recount. At that time, we will secure it back and away in our retention area.”

From The Brunswick News:

[Glynn County] Election Board Chair Patricia Gibson’s only worry is volunteers getting their due credit.

“All these 20 or 40 volunteers we’ll have tomorrow, they’re not getting paid for that,” Gibson said. “They’re giving a whole day or more of their time just to support and be a part of the process, and there’s no way we would do it without them.”

Ten teams of volunteers will open and sort ballots by candidate before recounting them in groups of 10, Channell explained. He plans to start at 8 a.m. today.

A Dec. 1 Public Service Commission runoff would have complicated the recount. Raffensperger said it would have been “untenable” to ask election workers and volunteers to juggle runoff preparation and a recount before announcing the state runoff would be moved to coincide with a U.S. Senate runoff on Jan. 5.

From the Statesboro Herald:

Before taking part in a one-hour, state-provided training session Thursday morning, Jones had no idea of the procedure, she said in an email.

But she has six poll workers, who work with her regularly on other election tasks, scheduled to do the sorting and recounting. They are expected to look at each of the county’s ballot printouts from the new multi-device touchscreen voting system, plus all of the paper absentee ballots. That’s more than 30,000 pieces of paper in Bulloch County alone.

Jones had no prediction on how many days the recount will take but noted that the deadline is midnight Wednesday. The deadline for Raffensperger to certify statewide results is next Friday, Nov. 20.

In addition to poll workers who will count votes, the local elections office is also expected to have its Vote Review Panel on hand, Jones said. The panel, which determines a voter’s intent when uncertainty arises, consists of people chosen by the county Democratic and Republican party committees and by the Board of Elections and Registration staff.

From the Rome News Tribune:

“We are still awaiting guidance from the Secretary of State’s office for the specifics of how the recount should proceed,” Elections Board member Melanie Conrad wrote in a press release. “As a result, the plans on the county level are still in flux. We will update the public when more details emerge.”

“The tentative location will be the Community Room in the Floyd County Administration Building,” Conrad said. “Our goal is to make this as transparent and accessible to the public as possible. We are working on a plan to livestream the event. This will be done so that we can reduce crowding in the building and ensure a safe and calm working environment for our workers. We will start the recount as soon as possible.”

Representatives from Floyd County’s Democratic and Republican parties have indicated they would be interested in monitoring the recount — which is a public process.

From the Savannah Morning News:

Sterling added that the biggest concern going in will be the potential for human error during the hand recount.

“Human beings are the most flawed part of the process,” he said. “The numbers will shift a bit (because of human involvement).”

Sterling said most of the changes usually come on the hand-marked paper ballots with the absentee ballots being “the most problematic” due to the amount of human interaction with them.

“(Humans) will be the weak link. There’s no way to prevent it. We have to try and circumvent that,” he said.

“If we see a shift in 14-to-15,000 ballots, we have bigger issues to address (than just this election). We want to get it right. We want to make sure it is accurate. This is the reason and rationale for the audit.”

Bridges added that the projected cost of the hand recount to Chatham taxpayers is $60,000, and that this amount has been arranged with the county’s financial department, with extra funding available if needed.

Four teams of two poll workers will pull the paper ballots out of boxes, put them in separate stacks based on whether the vote was for Joe Biden or Donald Trump, then count the stacks and put the numbers into the computer.

Voters who cast ballots in person already have seen that their votes were recorded correctly on a piece of paper and scanned correctly. But, “Maybe this will go to help people trust this new system,” she said. “I hope this reinforces to voters there’s no hanky panky going on.”

From the Savannah Morning News coverage in Bryan County:

The counting will begin Friday and continue through the weekend until complete, according to Cindy Reynolds, Bryan County’s election supervisor. “As of now there are 12 poll workers coming,” Reynolds replied in an email on Thursday afternoon.

Those 12 poll workers will carefully tally the little black dots next to either Trump or Biden on the 21,474 ballots cast in the county. By working in shifts throughout the weekend, Reynolds is hopeful the counting will be completed in a few days — “hopefully by Monday, Tuesday at the latest,” her email continued. “Certification Day is Wednesday.”

From the Newnan Times-Herald:

Coweta’s hand count of all of the 77,182 ballots cast for the Nov. 3 presidential election is set to begin Friday at 9 a.m.

Because elections offices are small, the count will be held in the county commission chambers, upstairs at 37 Perry St. in downtown Newnan.

Workers doing the recount will be divided into teams of three or possibly four, said Elections Director Jane Scoggins. Ballots are currently in sealed boxes, with manifests outlining the number of ballots inside.

A team will take a box, unseal it and begin counting the ballots in batches. One worker will read out the vote for president. The other two will independently tally the votes.

At the end of each batch, the two tallies will be checked against each other. If they don’t match, the batch is counted again. Once all ballots in a box are counted, the totals must match the number of ballots in the box. If not – they count again.

 

Grand Jury proceedings resume today in Floyd County, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Grand jury proceedings will begin again on Friday in Floyd County after being stalled since March 6 during the statewide health emergency order.

Prospective grand jury members will be summoned to report to the Forum River Center and park in the Third Avenue parking deck. They will be prescreened at the entrance, and masks will be required during proceedings.

All but essential court functions were halted by Georgia Chief Justice Harold Melton as a result of the pandemic and, despite the resumption of more court functions — like grand jury — the justice system in Georgia will still be operating at a diminished capacity.

Jury trials are expected to resume on Dec. 7 using the Forum and Courtroom A. However, that’s just two courtrooms to begin to clear nearly nine months of backlogs.

A Truth for Trump rally will be held in Dalton on Saturday, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Chatsworth resident Bridget Hill…. is organizing a Truth for Trump event this Saturday in Dalton. It will begin in Ellijay at 9:30 a.m. for a meet and greet at 941 Maddox Drive. Participants will leave at 10 a.m. for Dalton and plan to arrive around 11 at 1319 W. Walnut Ave., near the AT&T store.

“We just want to make our voices heard and to let people know we continue to support President Trump,” she said. “He has stood for us for the past four years and has taken so much abuse. We want to stand for him.”

Hill said she chose Ellijay as the starting point because it “is strongly Republican.” Ellijay is the county seat of Gilmer County, which gave Trump 81.3% of the vote in the 2020 presidential election.

“We wanted to come to Dalton because it’s also strongly Republican and is a bigger city and gives us a bigger stage,” she said.

Grantville City Council will consider whether to permit home alcohol delivery, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

According to City Attorney Mark Mitchell, the new law will allow restaurants and package stores to deliver “packaged, sealed alcoholic beverages to residences” within the Grantville city limits.

Mitchell said the council needed to decide if the city would extend its current license to allow businesses to make alcohol deliveries or would the city require businesses to obtain a new license.

“Are you going to allow the businesses – restaurants or package stores – to deliver under the existing license that they have or are you going to require them to get an additional license to allow for home delivery,” he said. “Currently the ordinance in Senoia will allow restaurants to make home delivery under their existing license.”

12
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 12, 2020

General William Tecumseh Sherman ordered the destruction of railroad and telegraph lines between Atlanta and Northwest Georgia on November 12, 1864. Sherman also burned the railroad bridge over the Chattahoochee, cutting his own supply line from Chattanooga.

In what looks to me like a surprisingly progressive move for the 19th century, Governor John B. Gordon signed legislation on November 12, 1889 opening the University of Georgia to white women.

On November 12, 1918, Atlanta held a victory parade to celebrate the Armistice with Germany.

On November 12, 1944, the Atlanta Constitution released a poll of Georgia legislators indicating that most wanted more local rule for cities and counties in the new Constitution being drafted.

President Jimmy Carter ordered an end to oil imports from Iran on November 12, 1979.

Tim Berners-Lee published a Proposal for a HyperText Project, laying the foundation for the World Wide Web, on November 12, 1990.

HyperText is a way to link and access information of various kinds as a web of nodes in which the user can browse at will. Potentially, HyperText provides a single user-interface to many large classes of stored information such as reports, notes, data-bases, computer documentation and on-line systems help.

A program which provides access to the hypertext world we call a browser. A hypertext page has pieces of text which refer to other texts. Such references are highlighted and can be selected with a mouse. When you select a reference, the browser presents you with the text which is referenced.

The texts are linked together in a way that one can go from one concept to another to find the information one wants. The network of links is called a web.

On November 12, 2000, George W. Bush took the lead for the first time in the New Mexico vote count, paving the way for his eventual election as President. From the New York Times:

Gov. George W. Bush of Texas late Friday night took the lead from Vice President Al Gore in the race to claim New Mexico’s five electoral votes with what now stands as the slimmest statewide margin in the country and one of the narrowest in American history.

After 257 missing ballots were found on Friday, and Bernalillo County officials here decided to count 379 ballots by hand that had been rejected by electronic voting machines on Tuesday, Mr. Bush led Mr. Gore by just four votes — among nearly 600,000 cast. The count was 285,644 for Mr. Bush, and 285,640 for Mr. Gore, according to totals from the state and the county.

Mr. Gore, who now has 255 electoral votes, seemed the apparent winner in New Mexico on Tuesday night by about 5,000 votes. But by late Wednesday, county officials had discovered that 67,000 absentee and early ballots had not been counted.

By midnight on Thursday, nearly all the ballots had been tallied and added to the county totals, but county officials then found that 252 votes — a number that reached 257 by Friday — were missing. They also grappled with the problem of what to do with an ever changing number of ballots that voting machines had rejected.

Then, on Friday afternoon, Lou Melvin, a precinct judge, found a locked black ballot box in an outer storage room in the county warehouse building where all the tabulations were being conducted.

It would be a month before the Supreme Court rendered a decision in Bush v. Gore, ending the election.

From the New York Post, dated November 12, 2000:

Republican George W. Bush yesterday took an infinitesimal lead – just 17 votes – in New Mexico, flipping a state that was put in rival Al Gore’s column for days, then moved to undecided Friday as Gore’s lead shriveled.

It’s another black eye for the TV networks who rushed to judgment and wrongly called New Mexico for Gore on Election Night, just as they miscalled Florida – first for Gore and then for Bush before going back to undecided.

The TV network fumbles are coupled with coast-to-coast ballot bumbles that have undermined America’s faith in the whole voting system as four states could join Florida in recount-land: New Mexico, Wisconsin, Oregon and Iowa.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today: please check your voter registration by logging in to the Secretary of State’s MVP website. You can also check your absentee ballot status while there if you already requested an absentee ballot.

Click here if you’d like to submit an online request for an absentee ballot for the Runoff Elections.

If you have moved or your voter registration is somehow incorrect or outdated, you have until December 7, 2020 to correct your registration so you can still vote in the January runoffs.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger had a busy day yesterday undermining protecting democracy. First, he announced he was changing the date of several runoff elections to coincide with the January federal elections. From the Athens Banner Herald:Continue Reading..

11
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 11, 2020

The first twenty-three cadets at Virginia Military Institute began their service on November 11, 1839.

On November 11, 1918, word reached Georgia that an armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany, ending World War One. Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsery declared a state holiday. Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I, was first celebrated on November 11, 1919 and is celebrated on November 11th every year.

In 1938, Congress recognized November 11th as Armistice Day, making it a legal holiday, and in 1954, at the urging of veterans, Congress renamed the holiday “Veterans Day.”

The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery was dedicated on November 11, 1921.

On Armistice Day, in the presence of President Harding and other government, military, and international dignitaries, the unknown soldier was buried with highest honors beside the Memorial Amphitheater. As the soldier was lowered to his final resting place, a two-inch layer of soil brought from France was placed below his coffin so that he might rest forever atop the earth on which he died.

The Tomb of the Unknowns is considered the most hallowed grave at Arlington Cemetery, America’s most sacred military cemetery. The tombstone itself, designed by sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones, was not completed until 1932, when it was unveiled bearing the description “Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known but to God.” The World War I unknown was later joined by the unidentified remains of soldiers from America’s other major 20th century wars and the tomb was put under permanent guard by special military sentinels.

On November 11, 1942, the draft age was lowered to 18 and raised to 37. At the time, African-Americans were excluded from the draft over concerns about a racially-diverse military.

In 1945, the idea was put forth to expand Armistice Day to honor all veterans and in 1954, Congress made the change to “Veterans Day” official.

The “General Lee” first left the ground, using a ramp to clear a police car, during filming of “The Dukes of Hazzard” on November 11, 1978.

Ronald Reagan became the first President of the United States to address the Japanese Diet in Tokyo on November 11, 1983.

On November 11, 1988, the Georgia Vietnam Memorial was dedicated in front of the Sloppy Floyd state government building across the street from the Georgia State Capitol.

On November 11, 1997, a monument to Georgia’s World War I veterans was dedicated, also in front of the Sloppy Floyd building.

Six years ago today, on November 11, 2013, the Atlanta Braves announced they would move from downtown Atlanta to Cobb County.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Vice President Mike Pence will return to Georgia to campaign for the GOP candidates in the Senate runoffs, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..