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05 November 2016

Georgia Early Voting Concludes with More Than Two Million Ballots Cast

As of 5 November 2016, 2,384,723  Georgians have either voted at their local elections office or cast ballots by mail.

Below are the totals by congressional district:

Number of
Early/Absentee Votes
Increase from 31 October 2016
1 132,695+59,341
2 134,583+49,453
3 188,844+74,092
9 189,396+68,889
10 184,483+77,731
13 197,083+99,621
14 155,319+67,297

For last week's totals, click here.

[SOURCE: Georgia Secretary of State's Office]

01 November 2016

Superior Court Judge Says Loch Lomond Community Can Stay in Atlanta

Residents in a southwest Atlanta community received a little clarity from a Fulton County Superior Court Judge, Monday.

Judge Gail Tusan ruled the City of Atlanta lawfully annexed the Loch Lomond community, meaning residents in that area will not be voting on the South Fulton cityhood question.

Judge Tusan's 22-page ruling marks the potential end of a protracted legal battle that pit neighbor against neighbor in the 271-acre neighborhood.

The lawsuit, seeking to overturn the Loch Lomond annexation, was filed by supporters of the proposed city of South Fulton to stop Atlanta and other nearby municipalities from expanding their borders before voters had their say on cityhood.

Another suit, which voided the Atlanta annexation of several areas in the Cascade community, is currently under appeal before the State Supreme Court.

Johnson v. Atlanta Ruling by Andre Walker on Scribd

30 October 2016

Georgia Early Voting Totals More Than Double as the Final Week of the Election Begins

As of 30 October 2016, 1,320,826 Georgians have either voted at their local elections office or cast ballots by mail.

Below are the totals by congressional district:

Number of
Early/Absentee Votes
Increase from 23 October 2016
1 73,354+41,858
2 85,130+45,794
3 114,752+62,438
9 120,507+65,689
10 106,752+61,376
13 97,462+55,968
14 88,022+48,930

For last week's totals, click here.

[SOURCE: Georgia Secretary of State's Office]

28 October 2016

Federal Judge Doesn't Stop South Fulton Vote, But Leaves Constitutional Questions Unanswered

Supporters of the proposed city of South Fulton claimed a win Monday afternoon, but their victory could ultimately end up as a pyrrhic one.

United States District Court Judge Eleanor Ross refused to stop the 8 November referendum on South Fulton cityhood, saying that Plaintiff John Davis and his attorney Robert Highsmith had failed to meet the "high burden" required for the Court to take such drastic action.

Still, Judge Ross did not address the constitutional questions raised in Mr. Davis' suit, leaving open the possibility that she may ultimately rule the city of South Fulton vote unconstitutional and toss it out.

Kaye Burwell, an attorney for the Fulton County Board of Elections, argued this exact point during the nearly two hour hearing.

Burwell told Judge Ross that a temporary restraining order halting the election was not an appropriate remedy at this time.

"The Court could determine, after the election, that the vote was invalid," Burwell said.

Attorney Highsmith contended that stopping the vote until all legal questions surrounding the proposed city of South Fulton was the best way to proceed.

Since Gov. Deal signed the city of South Fulton legislation into law, a flurry of lawsuits challenging what territory would be included in the proposed municipality as well as disputing who would vote in the referendum.

"Extra-territorial voting dilutes the votes of Mr. Davis and others," Highsmith argued before the Court. "Everyone who is legally allowed to vote will be able to vote whenever there is a legal referendum."

Judge Ross' demeanor on the bench, as she listened to both sides' presentations, was stoic.

While south Fulton residents in the courtroom nodded their heads in agreement, depending on which case they supported, Judge Ross showed no emotion or reaction. She did not give any inclination into how she would rule until it was announced from the bench.

Following the hearing, both opponents and proponents of the city of South Fulton conceded that this issue would be decided at the ballot box.

Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves echoed those statements.

"Regardless of the outcome of the vote, I have said from the start that residents should have control over their future," Eaves said. "I have not taken a position on the issue of Cityhood and I encourage residents to go vote."

26 October 2016

Governor Deal Defends Opportunity School Districts to Black Voters in East Point

Governor Nathan Deal hit the campaign trail, Tuesday, pitching one of his administration's key proposals to a key voting bloc in the November election.

(Gov. Nathan Deal [shown left] answers questions about his Opportunity School District from moderator Karyn Greer at Impact Church in East Point. Photo Credit: Andre Walker/Georgia Unfiltered)

Impact Church played host to Governor Deal as he explained Opportunity School District (OSD) to a mostly black crowd in East Point.

"Opportunity School District gives the state the right to select not more than twenty chronically failing schools in any one year to bring them into the district," the Governor said. "The schools who come into Opportunity School District are the worst of the worst."

Opportunity School District (OSD), appearing on the General Election ballot as Amendment 1, is a centerpiece of Gov. Deal's second term.

Under OSD, the state would take over schools that consistently score below 60% on the Georgia Department of Education College and Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI). The state would then have between five and ten years to turn around the low performing schools, before returning control back to the local school system.

Governor Deal was asked the location of these low performing schools by forum moderator Karyn Greer.

"The majority of the students who are attending these chronically failing schools are minority students," Deal replied.

East Point, where the OSD town hall was held, is a city of 33,712 people according to the 2010 Census. East Point is a majority minority city. 74.6% of the south metro Atlanta locale's residents are black. When the Governor's Office released a list of schools eligible for Opportunity School District, in May, four East Point schools made the cut.

Deal is counting on black parents, angry at their local school systems, to help propel Opportunity School District to victory at the ballot box.

The Charter Schools Amendment, another controversial education reform plan backed by Deal, won every precinct in majority-black East Point four years ago; indicating that black voters seem receptive to alternative methods of educating their kids.

Still, not everyone at the meeting was convinced.

A small group of protestors chanted, "No OSD!," as the event came to a close before being escorted out by East Point police officers.

Yvette Robinson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Georgia AFL-CIO, sported a white t-shirt emblazoned with the words, "Vote No on State Takeover."

"There have been other options and role models that have been presented like community schools, where you work with the parents and you work with the students," Robinson said. "You bring health services to the schools. You bring social services to the schools.

"The schools that have been targeted are minority communities that are low-income. Instead of trying to help get these people out of this income, you're going to send it to a private company that's going to make money off of our children," the state AFL-CIO official continued.

Deal responded to Robinson's criticisms, denying that others would profit from Opportunity School District.

"The only way the state will profit is to have these children get an education," Deal said to applause. "The entire state will profit from that."