Category: Georgia Politics


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 3, 2020

John Willis Menard became the first black man elected to Congress on November 3, 1868 from the Second District of Louisiana. Menard’s election opponent challenged the results and prevented Menard from taking his seat, though in defense of his election Menard became the first black man to address Congress.

On November 3, 1913, details of the federal income tax were finalized and published after the ratification earlier in the year of the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Bacon, Barrow, Candler, and Evans Counties were created on November 3, 1914 when voters approved Constitutional Amendments – prior to these Amendments, Georgia was limited to 145 counties. On the same day, Carl Vinson was sworn in to Congress from Georgia, becoming the youngest member of Congress at the time. Vinson would eventually become the first Member of Congress to serve more than fifty years. Vinson’s grandson, Sam Nunn would serve in the United States Senate.

The Chicago Tribune published the infamous “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline on November 3, 1948. Ultimately, Democrat Truman won 303 electoral votes to 189 for Republican Dewey.

Laika, a female Siberian Husky mix who was found stray on the streets of Moscow, was launched into space aboard Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957.

On November 3, 1964, Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson was elected President over Republican Barry Goldwater.

On November 3, 1970, Jimmy Carter was elected Governor of Georgia.

Democrat Cynthia McKinney became the first African-Amercian female elected to Congress from Georgia on November 3, 1992.

On November 3, 1998, Democrat Thurbert Baker was elected Attorney General and Michael Thurmond was elected Commissioner of Labor, becoming the first African-Americans elected to statewide executive office in Georgia.

One World Trade Center opened on November 3, 2014, more than thirteen years after the 9/11 attacks.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Here are today’s General Election stats, drawn from the Absentee voter file released daily by the Secretary of State’s office:

Total votes cast:       4,173,082

Mail-in votes cast:        1,450,571

Electronic votes cast:        12,664

In-person votes cast:    2,709,847

Quote of the Day from Former Governor Roy Barnes, via the AJC Political Insider:Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 2, 2020

Richard B. Russell, Jr. was born in Winder, Georgia on November 2, 1897.

In 1927, at age 29, Russell was named Speaker of the House – the youngest in Georgia history. In 1930, Russell easily won election as Georgia governor on his platform of reorganizing state government for economy and efficiency. Five months shy of his 34th birthday, Russell took the oath of office from his father, Georgia chief justice Richard B. Russell Sr. He became the youngest governor in Georgia history – a record that still stands. After Georgia U.S. Senator William Harris died in 1932, Gov. Russell named an interim replacement until the next general election, in which Russell himself became a candidate. Georgia voters elected their young governor to fill Harris’ unexpired term. When he arrived in Washington in January 1933, he was the nation’s youngest senator.

Russell had a long and storied career in the United States Senate, during which he served for many years as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, unofficial leader of the conservative Southern wing of the Democratic party and a chief architect of resistance to civil rights legislation. He also ran for President in 1952, winning the Florida primary.

Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States on November 2, 1976.

The current Georgia Constitution was ratified on November 2, 1982 by the state’s voters.

On November 2, 2010, voters elected Republican Nathan Deal as Governor, and the GOP swept all of the statewide offices on the ballot.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The McRib will be available nationwide for the first time in eight years, according to the AJC.

“The McRib has been a beloved menu item at McDonald’s since its inception nearly 40 years ago,” Linda VanGosen, vice president of menu innovation, said in a statement. “There’s nothing quite like the taste of the McRib.”

The McRib made its national debut at McDonald’s in 1982, and today it’s one of the most anticipated, limited-time menu items offered around the globe. Fun fact: Customers in Germany are able to enjoy the sandwich year-round.

The McRib will make its triumphant return to McDonald’s restaurants on Dec. 2.

Here are today’s General Election stats, drawn from the Absentee voter file released daily by the Secretary of State’s office:Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 30, 2020

King Henry VII of England was crowned on October 30, 1485.

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg.

King Charles I of England granted a charter for a new colony called Carolana that included much of present-day Georgia, along with the current states of North and South Carolina, on October 30, 1629.

Georgia’s Trustees decided on November 1, 1732 that the first settlement would be named Savannah and located on the Savannah River.

Parliament passed the Stamp Act on March 22, 1765 with an effective date of November 1, 1765, to fund British military operations.

The Stamp Act, however, was a direct tax on the colonists and led to an uproar in America over an issue that was to be a major cause of the Revolution: taxation without representation.

Passed without debate by Parliament in March 1765, the Stamp Act was designed to force colonists to use special stamped paper in the printing of newspapers, pamphlets, almanacs, and playing cards, and to have a stamp embossed on all commercial and legal papers. The stamp itself displayed an image of a Tudor rose framed by the word “America” and the French phrase Honi soit qui mal y pense—”Shame to him who thinks evil of it.”

Outrage was immediate. Massachusetts politician Samuel Adams organized the secret Sons of Liberty organization to plan protests against the measure, and the Virginia legislature and other colonial assemblies passed resolutions opposing the act. In October, nine colonies sent representatives to New York to attend a Stamp Act Congress, where resolutions of “rights and grievances” were framed and sent to Parliament and King George III.

Georgia Commissioners and Creek leaders signed a treaty on November 1, 1783.

Stephen Douglas of Illinois campaigned in Atlanta for President of the United States on October 30, 1860. Douglas had defeated Abraham Lincoln for United States Senate in 1858, giving rise to the Lincoln-Douglas style of debate.

The United States Congress admitted Nevada as the 36th state on October 31, 1864. Kind of fitting, in a way.

On October 30, 1871, Republican Benjamin Conley became acting Governor of Georgia after Republican Governor Rufus Bullock resigned; Conley served as President of the state Senate before taking office as Governor.

Conley took the oath of office on Oct. 30, 1871. Two days later, the new General Assembly convened and elected a new Democratic president of the Senate, but Conley refused to give up the office. The General Assembly then passed a law over Conley’s veto to hold a special election for governor on the third Tuesday in December. In that election, Democratic House speaker James M. Smith defeated Conley and assumed office Jan. 12, 1872.

On October 30, 1938, a science fiction drama called War of the Worlds was broadcast nationwide in the form of a series of simulated radio broadcasts.

The carving on Mount Rushmore was completed on October 31, 1941.

Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers on October 30, 1945, becoming the first African-American professional baseball player in the major leagues.

On October 30, 1970, a fastball from Nolan Ryan was timed at 100.9 miles per hour, putting him in the record books.

On the same day, Jim Morrison of the Doors was sentenced to six months in prison and a $500 fine for allegedly exposing himself during a Miami concert. Morrision died before the case was heard on appeal.

Jimmy Carter ended his first Presidential campaign with a rally in Flint, Michigan on November 1, 1976.

President Bill Clinton hit the campaign trail to help his wife, Hillary Clinton, in her race for United States Senate from New York on October 31, 2000. On October 31, 2014, Bill Clinton came to Atlanta to campaign for Michelle Nunn for United States Senate.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Here are today’s General Election stats, drawn from the Absentee voter file released daily by the Secretary of State’s office:

Total votes cast:       3,826,789

Mail-in votes cast:        1,334,211

Electronic votes cast:        10,846

In-person votes cast:    2,481,732

Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 29, 2020

Sir Walter Raleigh, founder of the first permanent English settlement in America, was beheaded on October 29, 1618 for conspiring against King James I.

Georgia’s first Royal Governor, John Reynolds, arrived at Savannah on October 29, 1754.

John Hancock resigned as President of the Continental Congress on October 29, 1777.

The New York Stock Exchange crashed on October 29, 1929, beginning the spiral to the Great Depression.

The first ballpoint pen went on sale at Gimbel’s Department Store on October 29, 1945.

Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia on October 29, 1971.

The Augusta Chronicle writes about the October 28, 1981 election of the city’s first Black mayor.

Edward M. McIntyre, who had been Richmond County’s first Black commissioner, was elected Augusta’s first Black mayor by more than a 1,000-vote margin in a runoff election.

“I’m just eager to go to work,” he said the day after his victory. “I’m delighted the people saw fit to give us a majority vote, and I look forward to working with city councilmen because they’re people with a tremendous amount of talent that we need.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Here are today’s General Election stats, drawn from the Absentee voter file released daily by the Secretary of State’s office:

Total votes cast:       3,624,515

Mail-in votes cast:        1,285,877

Electronic votes cast:        10,307

In-person votes cast:    2,328,331

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced the indictment of 46 people by an Upson County Grandy Jury for alleged gang-related activity.

•  92 Counts of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
•  59 Counts of Violations of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act
•  3 Counts of Trafficking Methamphetamine
•  3 Counts of Trafficking Heroin
•  5 Counts of Possession of Firearm during Commission of a Felony
•  3 Counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana
•  5 Counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm
•  2 Counts Financial Transaction Card Fraud
•  1 Count of Conspiracy to Commit Financial Transaction Card Fraud
•  24 Counts of Aggravated Assault
•  4 Counts of Kidnapping
•  4 Counts of Battery
•  2 Counts of Tampering with Evidence
•  4 Counts of Felony Murder
•  4 Counts of Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery

In March 2019, the Upson County District Attorney’s Office reached out to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Gang Task Force requesting that agents take a deep look into connected crimes in the Upson, Fayette, & Spalding County areas. The Gang Task Force, with the investigative support of local, state, and federal partners initiated an extensive investigation.

The investigation showed that between May 2014 and September 2020, the men and women who have been indicted participated in a pattern of racketeering activity as part of the criminal enterprise known as the Rollin 20 Neighborhood Bloods. They operated across the State of Georgia, including but not limited to Upson, Fayette, Spalding, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Richmond, Greene, Telfair, and Washington Counties and throughout the United States of America. This criminal enterprise committed numerous crimes, including but not limited to drug trafficking, assault, theft of money and personal property, conspiring to assault inmates, and recruiting gang members.

Twenty-five individuals have been arrested. Twenty-one fugitives are wanted by police.

From 11Alive:

The governor has prioritized combating gang activity while in office, instituting the GBI Gang Task Force last year to crack down on what he has said are roughly 70,000 gang members in Georgia.

“Today’s announcement highlights why my administration continues to prioritize fighting criminal street gangs and supporting the GBI Gang Task Force,” Gov. Kemp said in a statement. “The task force – working closely with local and federal law enforcement officials – has been the tip of the spear in making our communities safer and bringing criminals to justice. I applaud GBI Director Vic Reynolds and his staff, Upson County District Attorney Broder, Sheriffs Kilgore and Dix, Thomaston Police Chief Richardson, and all of our vital partners in this effort, for their leadership and hard work over the last year.”

“My message to gang members looking to prey on innocent Georgians, commit crimes, and destroy lives is simple: we will not stop until every community is safe.”

GBI Director Vic Reynolds characterized the bust as “another success story of us assisting a jurisdiction requesting our help in their area. Our GBI agents and task force agents have the expertise to investigate these complex cases and bring them to the point of a successful prosecution.”

The cases will be prosecuted by the Upson County District Attorney’s Office.

Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton in a PSA reminds Georgians of their duty to serve on a jury if called, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

“The right to a trial by jury is fundamental to the American system of justice,” Melton says in one of the PSAs. “When we decided in March to suspend jury trials in Georgia due to the virus, it was a hard call. Delaying that process has made a tough situation even more difficult for those awaiting justice.”

“Working with Georgia medical experts, we have established rigorous safety protocols for courthouses, courtrooms and jury spaces,” Melton explains in the message. “If you are summoned for jury duty, please note, we will do everything we can to keep you and your loved ones safe as you serve.”

Specific protocols will be followed, such as:

•  Pre-screening in the form of temperature checks.

•  Social distancing, especially in the jury box.

•  Masks required everywhere in the courthouse.

•  Installation of plexiglass barriers.

•  Frequent surface cleaning throughout the day.

•  Touch-free technology.





United States Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Atlanta) campaigned in Valdosta, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson called it a difference maker referring to Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s third visit to the Azalea City this week.

“There was a gentleman standing beside me from Naylor – the guy that had the Trump shirt on – said that he had been backing (Doug) Collins,” Matheson said. “But watching her and watching her during the hearings, he said he was going to change his vote to her.”

South Georgia Medical Center applied for a certificate of need to reopen the Smith Northview campus as a fully functional arm of the hospital.

However, a text that came to Matheson Oct. 26 said it had been denied.

“So, I asked her office if they wouldn’t apply a little pressure, to at least look into it,” he said. “She said ‘That is what we do,’ so if that happens because of her trip down today, we’ll all celebrate that.”

She referenced her passing the Save Rural Hospitals Act of 2020, which amended “Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to preserve access to rural health care by ensuring fairness in Medicare hospital payments,” as an example.

Local Trump supporters will take to the roads to show their enthusiasm, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Whitfield County Republican Party Chairman Dianne Putnam says she sees a great deal of enthusiasm for President Donald Trump, who is running for reelection, and she expects his supporters to come out on Sunday for a Trump Train vehicle parade.

“Anyone who wants to come out and show their support for President Trump is welcome,” she said.

Organized by Dalton businessman John Dashler, the Dalton Tea Party and the Whitfield County GOP, the vehicle parade is slated to start at GOP headquarters at 515 Benjamin Way.

“We are going to start lining everyone up around 1 p.m. and then pull out at 2:30,” Putnam said.

This will be the second Trump vehicle parade in Dalton in less than two weeks. A parade on Oct. 20 had several dozen vehicles participating, with many drivers circling downtown Dalton for about four hours while blowing their horns.

A Trump Train/Back the Blue vehicle parade is scheduled for Chatsworth on Monday at 5 p.m. Participants are asked to meet at the plaza at Central (the intersection of Highway 225 and Highway 52).


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 28, 2020

Christopher Columbus “discovered” Cuba on October 28, 1492.

The Battle of Wauhatchie, one of a handful of night battles in the Civil War, began along the Georgia-Tennessee border on October 28, 1863.

The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886; the first ticker tape parade followed.

The United States Senate overrode President Woodrow Wilson’s veto of the Volstead Act on October 28, 1919.

The Cuban Missile Crisis ended on October 28, 1962 as Kruschev agreed to remove Soviet missiles from Cuba if the United States would respect Cuban sovereignty.

Democratic President Jimmy Carter debated Republican Ronald Reagan in Cleveland, Ohio on October 28, 1980.


The Atlanta Braves beat the Cleveland Indians 1-0 to win the World Series on October 28, 1995.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Here are today’s General Election stats, drawn from the Absentee voter file released daily by the Secretary of State’s office:

Total votes cast:       3,386,363

Mail-in votes cast:        1,225,181

Electronic votes cast:          9,906

In-person votes cast:    2,151,276

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms acknowledged the dramatic rise in Atlanta’s murder rate, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 27, 2020

On October 27, 1775, King George III addressed Parliament, raising concerns about an American rebellion.

The First of the Federalist Papers, an essay by Alexander Hamilton published under the pseudonym Publius, was published on October 27, 1787.

The United States and Spain signed the Treaty of San Lorenzo, also called Pinckney’s Treaty on October 27, 1795, setting the 31st parallel as the border between Georgia and Florida.

The nation’s first Gold Rush started after Benjamin Parks discovered gold in what is now Lumpkin County, Georgia on October 27, 1828.

Theodore Roosevelt was born in New York City on October 27, 1858.

President Woodrow Wilson vetoed the Volstead Act, which implemented the Eighteenth Amendment prohibition on alcohol, on October 27, 1919; the House overrode his veto that same day and the United States Senate overrode the veto on October 28, 1919.

Navy Day was established on October 27, 1922.

October 27 was suggested by the Navy League to recognize Theodore Roosevelt’s birthday. Roosevelt had been an Assistant Secretary of the Navy and supported a strong Navy as well as the idea of Navy Day. In addition, October 27 was the anniversary of a 1775 report issued by a special committee of the Continental Congress favoring the purchase of merchant ships as the foundation of an American Navy.

Ronald Reagan delivered the “A Time for Choosing” speech on October 27, 1964.

And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man.

This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down—[up] man’s old—old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.

We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.

Jimmy Carter campaigned in New York on October 27, 1976.

Gladys Knight and the Pips reached #1 with “Midnight Train to Georgia” on October 27, 1973.

Andrew Young was elected Mayor of Atlanta on October 27, 1981.

Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy accepted the last Ford Taurus built in Hapeville, Georgia on October 27, 2006.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Here are today’s General Election stats, drawn from the Absentee voter file released daily by the Secretary of State’s office:

Total votes cast:       3,154,931

Mail-in votes cast:        1,165,633

Electronic votes cast:          9,251

In-person votes cast:   1,980,047

Governor Brian Kemp issued a statement on the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 26, 2020

Colonists in Georgia signed a letter allowing the beginning of the slave trade in Georgia on October 26, 1749.

Georgia Sons of Liberty protested against the British Stamp Act on October 26, 1765.

A state Constitutional Convention at Milledgeville, Georgia repealed the state’s Ordinance of Secession on October 26, 1865.

President George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act on October 26, 2001.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Here are today’s General Election stats, drawn from the Absentee voter file released daily by the Secretary of State’s office:

Total votes cast:       2,923,403

Mail-in votes cast:        1,107,763

Electronic votes cast:          8,766

In-person votes cast:   1,806,874

Gun sales are up in Georgia, as evidenced by numbers of background checks, according to The Brunswick News.

The issuance of licenses for carrying a gun is rising in the state as well, according to probate court judges.

The increase in gun sales has raised public health concerns. More firearms increase the risk of more unnecessary deaths and injuries from gunshots, said Dabney Evans, an assistant professor of global health in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

Reasons for the rising gun sales include general uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic and recent civil unrest, along with election-related turmoil, Evans said.

“There is a lot of insecurity,” she said Thursday. “More people are feeling insecure, and many are feeling insecure for the first time. I think it’s worrisome.”

Through this September, the agency reported 658,000 checks in Georgia, as compared with 539,000 for all of 2019. The background checks in Georgia surged in June and July, after the death of George Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis in late May, which led to a murder charge against one officer and related charges against others. Anger over the case sparked widespread protests that at times turned violent.

“You’re seeing a lot of first-time gun buyers,” said John Monroe, vice president of, an organization seeking to protect gun owners’ rights.

Governor Brian Kemp authorized (E.O the transfer of $1.2 million dollars from the Governor’s Emergency Fund to the Georgia Department of Defense and Georgia Department of Public Safety to cover costs associated with security.

A panel of the 11th Circuit United States Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision requiring Georgia counties to print paper backups of voter rolls for election day, according to the AJC.

The three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay of a judge’s order that would have provided a backup copy of voter records in case computers fail on Nov. 3.

The panel’s two-page decision didn’t explain its reasoning. One of the judges dissented.

U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg last month had ordered election officials to prepare paper copies of records showing who is registered to vote and whether they’ve already voted, either by absentee ballot or during in-person early voting.

The 11th Circuit’s decision is the second time federal appellate courts have overturned recent election rulings in Georgia. A separate appeals panel previously reinstated Georgia’s deadline for absentee ballots to be returned by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3, rejecting an effort to count ballots if they had been postmarked by Election Day.

U.S. Circuit Judges Andrew Brasher and Barbara Lagoa, both appointees of President Donald Trump, supported the stay of the paper backup requirement. U.S. Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan, an appointee of President Barack Obama, dissented.

Former Vice President Joe Biden will campaign in Atlanta and Warm Springs, Georgia tomorrow, according to GPB News.

According to the campaign, the former vice president will deliver remarks in Warm Springs “on bringing Americans together to address the crises facing our nation,” where he will say that “Americans have always come together to triumph and overcome, and that we can, must, and will again now.”

The tiny town in Meriwether County just south of Newnan is a symbolic choice for Biden’s final message of a bruising battle against President Trump. Warm Springs is home to the “Little White House” retreat of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, where he sought to use the eponymous springs to treat his polio. Now a National Historic Landmark, the campus was also where Roosevelt developed many ideas for New Deal programs like the Rural Electrification Administration.

Later Tuesday, Biden will attend a drive-in event in the metro Atlanta area “to encourage Georgians to make a plan to vote during the last week of early voting.”

In the last few weeks, the Peach State has seen campaign visits from Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Dr. Jill Biden, and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, who headlined an early-voting rally in Atlanta after visiting with students from historically Black colleges and talking about her record as a prosecutor as part of a discussion on policy that affects Black men.

From the Ledger-Enquirer:

Multiple reports Saturday evening, including the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Bloomberg, say the former vice president will deliver remarks on “bringing Americans together to address the crises facing our nation” in the small west Georgia town.

Warm Springs, about 30 miles north of Columbus, is the site of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Little White House, which he used as a personal retreat.

Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D-CA) was in Atlanta on Friday, according to the AJC.

Making her first visit to Atlanta since joining the Democratic ticket, Harris answered with an extended monologue aimed squarely at President Donald Trump’s attempts to woo Black men.The California senator’s visit was aimed at rallying Democrats to cast their ballots early and join the record number of voters who have already done so.

The overwhelming majority of African American voters in Georgia are expected to cast their ballots for Joe Biden, and it will likely require high turnout from Black voters to flip the state in Democrats’ favor for the first time since 1992.

But some recent national and statewide polls suggest Black men could vote for Trump at higher rates this cycle than they did four years ago, which could undercut Biden’s efforts to carry Georgia and other competitive states.

First Lady candidate Dr. Jill Biden will be in Macon and Savannah today, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Jill Biden will be visiting both Savannah and Macon on Monday to encourage voters to get to the polls in the next two weeks.

Biden’s visit to Savannah comes after two appearances in the Hostess City by Donald Trump, Jr., who spoke at two campaign events on behalf of his father.

As of Wednesday around 783,000 voters have cast absentee ballots statewide. By this time in the 2016 election, roughly 103,000 mail-in ballots had been cast.

Statewide, more than 2 million people have already voted in the hotly anticipated election. Of those, more than 1.2 million had cast ballots in person during the three-week early voting period that started last Monday, marking a roughly 60% increase in the number of early voters compared to the same point in the 2016 election.

Donald Trump, Jr. rallied supporters in Macon, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Chris Grant, a political science professor at Mercer University, said the last-minute Trump push here was likely aimed at Black males, with whom the president has had some success connecting at the polls.

“(Trump Jr.) could be going to (Republican-friendly) Houston County just as easily,” Grant said.

But instead Don Jr. came to neighboring Bibb County, where two-thirds of the population in Macon proper is Black.

Though Hillary Clinton won 59% of the vote in Bibb County four years ago, Grant said the Trump campaign may be looking to make gains by “micro-targeting” Black voters.

While only a handful of the 200-plus rally-goers on Friday were Black, Grant said the campaign was focusing on the area’s television-news market. Cameras from every local station were there.

The New York Times breathlessly reports that some suburban voters in Georgia will (gasp!) vote for Donald Trump.

National polling has consistently shown that white college-educated voters are supporting Joseph R. Biden Jr. for president. But in Georgia, even as major demographic and population shifts have pulled the state leftward in recent years, a majority of such voters remain firmly in Mr. Trump’s camp.

Recent polling shows that these voters have helped Trump maintain his razor-thin lead over Mr. Biden for Georgia’s suburban vote. Their continued support is critical to the president’s chances in the state, whose 16 electoral votes are essential for his path to re-election and where polling shows the two candidates neck-and-neck overall.

Georgia may be in the Deep South, but a steady, decades-long influx of young, educated and nonwhite voters, coupled with a shrinking population of white voters without degrees — whose support helped fuel Mr. Trump’s victory in 2016 — have put the state increasingly in play for Democrats. From historic turnout rates among infrequent and first-time voters in support of Stacey Abrams in the 2018 gubernatorial race, to Lucy McBath’s triumph over Karen Handel in Newt Gingrich’s former congressional district that same year, down-ballot Democrats have proven the party’s viability in the Trump era.

According to more than a dozen such voters in and around Atlanta, what’s currently keeping them from jumping ship is not so much a deep affinity for Mr. Trump, but a fear of “lawlessness” taking root should Democrats take the White House. Trump has spent much of the past few months stoking those fears, his campaign sending texts with such warnings as “ANTIFA THUGS WILL RUIN THE SUBURBS!”

Polling suggests that in many battleground states where protests turned violent this summer, that message hasn’t broken through. But in Georgia, many voters said Mr. Trump’s “law-and-order” appeals had struck a nerve, and almost all cited a fear that the call among some progressives to “defund the police” would materialize during a Biden presidency.

Mr. Biden has said that he has no desire to defund the police, and Amanda Newman acknowledges that. But Ms. Newman, 51, who lives in the suburbs and works at a law firm in midtown Atlanta, also thinks Mr. Biden’s personal views are irrelevant — that a vote for Mr. Biden is in fact a vote for his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, as well as for progressives in the Democratic Party like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who have pushed for policies like the Green New Deal. “I don’t think Joe Biden has an opinion until somebody tells him what it is,” she said.

Voter turnout continues at a record-setting pace, according to The Brunswick News.

By 8 p.m. Friday, 2.7 million ballots had been cast across the state, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. Of those, 1.75 million were cast in person at early voting polls and another 946,753 were mailed in.

Both in-person and mail-in ballots overshadowed the first two weeks of early voting in the 2016 presidential election by a long shot. About 1.06 million ballots had been cast by this same time in 2016, 938,159 in person and 116,764 by mail.

By percentage, that amounts to a 106 percent increase overall, a 48 percent increase in in-person voting and a 645 percent mail-in increase.

Local turnout followed suit. Glynn County residents cast 17,530 total votes as of 4 p.m. Saturday, said Assistant Elections and Registration Supervisor Christina Redden. Exact figures weren’t immediately available, but a little over 7,000 voters used the new Ballard Community Building early voting location on Nimitz Drive. About 6,000 voted on St. Simons Island and 5,000 or so voted in downtown Brunswick.

The Glynn County Board of Elections had received 8,005 absentee-by-mail ballots as of Saturday, Redden said.

From the Associated Press via AccessWDUN:

Democrats have continued to dominate the initial balloting, but Republicans are narrowing the gap. GOP voters have begun to show up at early in-person voting, a sign that many heeded President Donald Trump’s unfounded warnings about mail-voting fraud.

On Oct. 15, Democratic registrants cast 51% of all ballots reported, compared with 25% from Republicans. On Sunday, Democrats had a slightly smaller lead, 51% to 31%.

The early vote totals, reported by state and local election officials and tracked by the AP, are an imperfect indicator of which party may be leading. The data only shows party registration, not which candidate voters support. Most GOP voters are expected to vote on Election Day.

Analysts said the still sizable Democratic turnout puts extra pressure on the Republican Party to push its voters out in the final week and on Nov. 3. That’s especially clear in closely contested states such as Florida, Nevada and North Carolina.

One sign of enthusiasm is the large number of new or infrequent voters who have already voted — 25% of the total cast, according to an AP analysis of data from the political data firm L2. Those voters are younger than a typical voter and less likely to be white. So far similar shares of them are registering Democratic and Republican.

They have helped contribute to enormous turnouts in states such as Georgia, where 26.3% of the people who’ve voted are new or infrequent voters, and Texas, which is expected to set turnout record and where 30.5% are new or infrequent voters.

From CNN via the Gwinnett Daily Post:

Across the country, Black voters are turning out in huge numbers. The stakes this year are especially high, they say, and nothing less than their health and safety is on the ballot.

So far this fall, African American voters are rushing to the polls at much higher rates than they did four years ago, when Hillary Clinton was on the ballot.

By Tuesday, more than 601,000 Black Americans had voted early in Georgia compared with about 286,240 two weeks before the 2016 election. In Maryland, about 192,775 had voted compared with 18,430. And California had over 303,145 — up from more than 106,360 two weeks before the election four years ago. That’s according to Catalist, a data company that provides analytics to Democrats, academics and progressive advocacy organizations.

In Georgia, many Black voters say they have been motivated to vote in person by what happened in 2018, when Republican Brian Kemp ran against Democrat Stacey Abrams for governor while serving as the state’s chief elections officer.

Kemp, who as Georgia’s secretary of state had promoted and enforced some of the nation’s most restrictive voting laws, was accused repeatedly before and during the campaign of seeking to suppress the minority vote. Kemp won narrowly, and Abrams argued that he had used his position to suppress Black votes.

Richmond County voters found a festive atmosphere for early voting, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

In a courtyard between Bell Auditorium and the James Brown Arena, the City of Augusta’s Souls to the Polls event invited hundreds of voters out to the polls Sunday afternoon. Dozens lined up by a Cafe 209 food truck for free lunches powered by World Central Kitchen, the mayor’s office passed out cups with masks and other protective items inside, and volunteers passed out beaded necklaces congratulating voters. All of this plus a DJ playing upbeat music that could be heard from down the street made for a party atmosphere.

On the opposite side of Bell Auditorium and across the street from the polls, several candidates got in some more campaign time, like Shawnda Griffin who is running for the District 1 seat on the Richmond County Board of Education.

Richmond County Board of Elections executive director Lynn Bailey said there was a good community spirit in the air over the weekend that drew thousands of voters. As of Sunday afternoon, she said everything was going well, 650 ballots had been cast and she expected that number to grow to 800 to 900 by the end of the day.

Three Richmond County polling places have changed, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Residents who formerly voted at Crawford Avenue Baptist Church are being split between one new and one existing polling place.

Precinct 102 voters who used Crawford Avenue Baptist and live north of Walton Way will now vote at the Kroc Center, 1833 Broad St., according to Lynn Bailey, the executive director of the Richmond County Board of Elections.

Former Crawford Avenue Baptist voters who live south of Walton Way will join Precinct 111 voters at the Paine College HEAL Complex, 1255 Druid Park Ave.

After concerns about pedestrian accessibility were raised, Augusta University’s Christenberry Fieldhouse is no longer a polling place.

Precinct 302 and 507 voters who cast ballots at the arena will now use the Friedman Branch Library, 1447 Jackson Road, on Election Day.

The highest number affected is the about 4,000 voters who used Wildwood Christian Church on Tobacco Road.

Precinct 404 and 509 voters who used Wildwood have been moved 1.1 miles east along Tobacco Road to Windsor Spring Baptist Church, 3692 Windsor Spring Road, which is a Hephzibah address.

The changes are for Election Day voting only. Advance voting is being offered at four Richmond County sites, as is voting by mail or hand-delivery to a drop box or board of elections office.

A ransomware attack on Hall County government computers is slowing part of the absente ballot confirmation process down, but reportedly not affecting actual voting, according to the Gainesville Times.

The ransomware attack on Hall County government’s networks has slowed down signature verification for absentee ballots but has not affected residents’ ability to vote, according to county officials.

One of the databases elections staff can use to verify a voter’s signature has been down since Oct. 7, when the county discovered a ransomware attack that caused an outage of county phone and email services, in addition to other county software such as the programs used to process business licenses and building permits. Phone and email access, along with most other services, have been restored.

Kay Wimpye, registration coordinator with the county elections office, told The Times Wednesday, Oct. 21, that employees can still verify voter signatures by manually pulling hard copies of voter registration cards.

“As long as the ballot is here, it’s time-stamped, it’s secured in the office, the ballot will be accepted. It’s just taking us a little longer to verify those signatures,” Wimpye said.

“Moral turpitude” is a term undefined in the Georgia Code that may be problematic for people convicted of a crime and seeking restoration of their full civil rights. From the Savannah Morning News:

When the Chatham County Board of Elections meets Tuesday to decide whether Chatham County Commission District 2 candidate Tony Riley is qualified to run for public office, his political fate will hang on how the board interprets the concept of “moral turpitude.”

Riley, a convicted felon who served 16 years in prison before a 2011 release, signed a qualifying affidavit in March stating he was at least 10 years removed from serving time for any felony offense of moral turpitude. His attorney, Will Claiborne, will argue that Riley’s crime, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, does not meet that standard.

Crimes of moral turpitude are generally viewed as those that shock the conscience or are inherently contrary to the rules of morality or inherently contrary to the duty one owes to society in general. The law offers little additional insights on defining moral turpitude.

“So it’s up to the elections board to determine whether they believe that being addicted to drugs 25 years ago is a crime of moral turpitude. And we, for our part, don’t believe that it should count as a crime of moral turpitude on this set of facts,” Claiborne said.

From a 2019 article in the AJC:

Under the Georgia Constitution, those who have been convicted of a “felony involving moral turpitude” can’t be registered to vote until their sentences are completed. But the state has never defined which felonies involve “moral turpitude,” and election officials interpret the Constitution to mean that all felonies limit voting rights.

The General Assembly could pass a bill saying what “moral turpitude” means, or legislators could simply list which offenses qualify for reinstatement of voting rights, Jones said.

Currently in Georgia, felons’ voting rights are automatically restored upon the completion of their sentences, including parole, probation, restitution, fines and other costs. Felons must re-register to vote after they’re eligible to do so.

A committee to advocate for passage of an E-SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education) in Glynn County has been formed, according to The Brunswick News.

“We just want to make sure everybody understands what ESPLOST does, how the collections are done and who helps pay for that,” said Jeff Bennett, past chairman of the board of the Golden Isles Camber of Commerce and a member of the Glynn United for Education committee.

“I think it’s very important that the Golden Isles knows that, based on past studies, over 50 percent of sales tax revenue in Glynn County is paid for by outside citizens, people from outside the community, and we’re very fortunate that we live in a community like this because it really makes a lot of sense for SPLOST to be used to raise money for the community for capital projects.”

School system officials are not allowed to promote the ESPLOST vote, Bennett said.

The new ESPLOST would be a continuation of the current 1 percent sales tax for educational purposes. The new ESPLOST will begin to be collected at the termination of the ESPLOST currently in effect.

At least two staffers for United States Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Atlanta) have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the AJC.

Loeffler took her own test on Friday, which she said was negative. She plans to participate in Monday’s scheduled vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Senator Loeffler is more energized than ever to vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett as the next Supreme Court Justice on Monday before returning home and traveling the state to meet with hardworking Georgians,” a Saturday statement from her office said.

Loeffler’s team would not provide the names of the staffers, the date of their positive tests or if they are displaying symptoms of illness. Her office also did not say if these staffers had any direct interaction with the senator or if Loeffler planned to take any additional precautions.

Monday’s vote on Barrett’s nomination is expected to pass largely along party lines with most Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed. Republicans currently have enough votes to confirm the new justice, according to CNN and other outlets, but that would change if more than a few Republicans dissent or are absent.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) campaigned for the United States Senate in Columbus, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Georgia Congressman Doug Collins was met by an enthusiastic crowd of more than 250 supporters outside of the Columbus/ Muscogee GOP Headquarters at 4225 Holley Ave. Collins said he is making more than 60 stops while campaigning for one of Georgia’s two seats in the U.S. Senate.

“Four thousand miles, three feet off the ground, 65 miles an hour in a 150,000 mile SUV sitting right over there. We see the people of Georgia,” Collins said.

“We’ve got people here that we’ve not seen before,” said Alton Russell, chairman of the Columbus/ Muscogee Republican Party. “It’s not that they’re new Republicans, they’re just new people to kind of get involved so it’s a very exciting crowd and a plus for Columbus.”

Collins was joined onstage by Georgia congressman Drew Ferguson, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Agriculture Gary W. Black Sr., and former governor of Arkansas, political commentator, and 2008 and 2016 Republican U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

The University of Georgia‘s graduation ceremony in December will be online, according to the Athens Banner Herald.


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

On October 24, 1733, the Georgia trustees ordered a ship to Rotterdam to pick up a group of Lutherans expelled from Salzburg, Austria, and then send the Salzburgers to Georgia.

On October 25, 1774, the First Continental Congress addressed a petition to King George III raising concerns about the Coercive Acts passed by Parliament and asserting its loyalty to the monarch.

On October 24, 1775, Lord John Murray Dunmore, British Governor of Virginia, ordered the British fleet to attack Norfolk, VA.

On October 24, 1790, the Rev. John Wesley wrote the last entry in his journal, which he began keeping on October 14, 1735.

The wooden keel of USS Monitor was laid at Continental Iron Works at Greenpoint, New York on October 25, 1861.

The first American “Unknown Soldier” was chosen on October 24, 1921 in Chalons-sur-Marne, France.

Bearing the inscription “An Unknown American who gave his life in the World War,” the chosen casket traveled to Paris and then to Le Havre, France, where it would board the cruiser Olympia for the voyage across the Atlantic. Once back in the United States, the Unknown Soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.

On the Presidential campaign trail, Franklin Delano Roosevelt arrived in Atlanta on October 23, 1932, speaking to 10,000, and continued on to his “second home” at Warm Springs, Georgia.

smFDR Atlanta 1932

FDR campaigning in Atlanta and Georgia in 1932.

FDR Georgia

When he arrived at Warm Springs, FDR gave a short speech:

“Two more weeks to go. . . . First, let me say this: this old hat, a lot of you people have seen it before. It’s the same hat. But I don’t think it is going to last much longer after the 8th of November. I have a superstition about hats in campaigns, and I am going to wear it until midnight of the 8th of November. . . . Well, it’s fine to see, and I’m looking forward to coming down here for the usual Thanksgiving party at Warm Springs, and having a real old-fashioned Thanksgiving with my neighbors again. I thank you!”

The Charter of the United Nations took effect on October 24, 1945.

On October 24, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower pledged the United States’ support for the South Vietnam government led by President Ngo Dinh Diem.

On October 23, 1971, the Coca-Cola Company launched the advertising campaign “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke.”

On October 24, 1976, Newsweek released a poll showing Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter leading President Gerald Ford in 24 states, with a combined 308 electoral voters.

Georgia-born Clarence Thomas was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on October 23, 1991.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Here are today’s General Election stats, drawn from the Absentee voter file released daily by the Secretary of State’s office:

Total votes cast:       2,479,268

Mail-in votes cast:        1,001,874

Electronic votes cast:          7,961

In-person votes cast:   1,469,433

Electronic ballots are only available in elections that include federal candidates, and are available to U.S. service members or citizens residing overseas.

We’ll pass 2.5 million total votes cast today.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 22, 2020

General James Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia, signed a treaty with the Spanish government of Florida on October 22, 1736.

On October 22, 1832, the Cherokee Land Lottery began in Milledgeville, with more than 200,000 Georgians competing for 53,309 lots of land.

Georgia Governor John B. Gordon signed legislation on October 22, 1887 that increased the number of justices on the Georgia Supreme Court from 3 to 5.

President Grover Cleveland arrived in Atlanta for the Cotton States and International Exposition on October 22, 1895.

On October 22, 1991, the Braves played Minnesota in the first World Series game in Atlanta.

The Atlanta Braves won Game 2 of the 1995 World Series, beating Cleveland 4-3, on October 22, 1995.

Georgia artist Howard Finster died on October 22, 2001.

One of my dogs is named Finster, after the artist.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Here are today’s General Election stats, drawn from the Absentee voter file released daily by the Secretary of State’s office:

Total votes cast:       2,035,409

Mail-in votes cast:          873,061

Electronic votes cast:          6,643

In-person votes cast:    1,155,705

A million new voters have joined the rolls in Georgia since 2016, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 21, 2020

USS Constitution, named by President George Washington, was launched in Boston Harbor on October 21, 1791.

During the War of 1812, the Constitution won its enduring nickname “Old Ironsides” after defeating the British warship Guerriére in a furious engagement off the coast of Nova Scotia. Witnesses claimed that the British shots merely bounced off the Constitution‘s sides, as if the ship were made of iron rather than wood. The success of the Constitution against the supposedly invincible Royal Navy provided a tremendous morale boost for the young American republic.

Today, Constitution serves as a museum ship, and has sailed under her own power as recently as 2012. Southern live oak, harvested and milled on St. Simons Island, Georgia, is a primary construction material for Constitution.

On October 21, 1888, the Augusta Chronicle published a letter from General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Pleasant Stovall, editor of The Augusta Chronicle, wrote the famous old general, and what do you know? He answered, in perhaps the most famous letter to the editor ever printed in the newspaper.

It was published Oct. 21, 1888, and basically, the old warhorse said he didn’t attack Augusta because he didn’t have to. He wanted to get to Savan­nah where the Union Navy could bring him supplies.

However, he offered to correct the oversight if Augusta felt neglected, writing: “I can send a detachment of 100,000 or so of Sherman’s Bummers and their descendants who will finish up the job without charging Uncle Sam a cent.”

Dizzy Gillespie was born on this day in 1917 in Cheraw, South Carolina.

President Warren G. Harding spoke in Alabama on October 21, 1921, and publicly condemned the practice of lynching.

Harding was a progressive Republican politician who advocated full civil rights for African Americans and suffrage for women. He supported the Dyer Anti-lynching Bill in 1920. As a presidential candidate that year, he gained support for his views on women’s suffrage, but faced intense opposition on civil rights for blacks. The 1920s was a period of intense racism in the American South, characterized by frequent lynchings. In fact, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) reported that, in 1920, lynching claimed, on average, the lives of two African Americans every week.

On October 21, 1976, Billy Carter spoke to an audience in Albany, Georgia, about his brother’s campaign for President.

On his brother Jimmy’s drinking habits, Billy said, “Jimmy used to drink liquor. Now he’s running for president he drinks Scotch, and I’ve never trusted a Scotch drinker.” Billy preferred the alcohol choice of his brother’s running mate, Walter Mondale – “I liked him the best of all the ones who came to Plains. He’s from a small town and he’s a beer drinker.”

Today, Billy Carter’s service station is preserved as a museum in Plains, Georgia.

The Atlanta Braves won the first game of the 1995 World Series on October 21, 1995, as Greg Maddux dominated the Cleveland Indians, allowing only two hits. Native American groups protested the names of both teams.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Macon Telegraph has five takeaways from President Trump’s visit to Middle Georgia last week.Continue Reading..