COLORBEARER OF ATHENS, GEORGIA LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1987

In the Loop

  • Early Voting for the Dec. 4 Runoff Is Now Open

     

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    John Barrow.

    Even though Stacey Abrams fell a bit short in her bid for governor, there will still be a runoff Dec. 4.

    Athens’ own John Barrow faces Republican Brad Raffensperger for secretary of state, so if you’re not happy with the way the election was conducted under Brian Kemp, you know what to do. Barrow may be a centrist white guy who doesn’t quite give you that tingly feeling Abrams did, but he wants to get rid of Georgia’s antiquated voting machines, and he’s certainly not going to go along with suppressing minority voters on behalf of the GOP. The importance of having a Democrat in this office come 2020 can’t be overstated.

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  • Oconee County Voters Cast Mostly Party-Line Ballots

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    Oconee County voting on Nov. 6 showed little variation by election contest, suggesting that most ballots were cast along party lines.

    No Republican got more than 74.6 percent of the vote or less than 66.8 percent in Oconee County, and no Democrat got more than 30.7 percent of the vote or less than 25.4 percent, an analysis of the certified results shows.

    Voting for the state as a whole showed that same pattern, with almost all contests being split, with about half of the vote going to Republicans and nearly half going to Democrats.

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  • Protesters Criticize UGA's Handling of Slavery Issue at Baldwin Hall Memorial Dedication

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    A small group of protesters, including Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Mariah Parker, held signs at Friday's dedication ceremony for a memorial to slaves whose remains were found under Baldwin Hall to remind attendees of UGA's history of slavery.

    “We are drawn here today by a deep sense of respect for these individuals and by a strong sense of duty to commemorate the lives they lived,” UGA President Jere Morehead said. “The memorial we are dedicating this morning will provide for an enduring tribute as well as a physical space for meaningful reflection in the future.”

    None of the three speakers—Morehead, U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones and Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Michelle Cook—mentioned slaves or slavery.

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  • Athens-Area Reservoir Named to Georgia's 'Dirty Dozen'

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    The Georgia Water Coalition has named the planned withdrawal of water from the Apalachee River for an expanded Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir on its 2018 Georgia’s Dirty Dozen list.

    The coalition labeled the proposed Apalachee River water intake “an exercise in overbuilding” and called on the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to turn down the current requests for the intake.

    The Georgia Water Coalition is an alliance of more than 200 organizations, including the Greater Apalachee River Community, a group of Oconee County and Morgan County residents that organized this year to represent the interests of the Apalachee River.

    “For the Apalachee, the aquatic wildlife it harbors and the people who live along and play in it, this proposed withdrawal creates other problems simply because it is super-sized for such a small river,” the report states.

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  • Election Officials Butt Heads as Recount Forces Athens to Miss Deadline

     

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    Photo Credit: Savannah Cole

    The Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections faces possible state sanctions after missing the deadline to certify election results because of a chaotic recount Tuesday that raised as many questions as it answered.

    The “recanvassing”—prompted by petitions from three voters in eight precincts who were concerned about every vote being counted—started at 11 a.m. and was supposed to end at 2 p.m., but continued well past the 5 p.m. deadline for counties to certify their election results and deliver them to the secretary of state’s office.

    Vote totals were uploaded around 6:30 p.m., said Charlotte Sosebee, the director of elections and voter registration. However, the election wasn’t certified until closer to 8 p.m. Documents were turned over to the Georgia State Patrol at 9 a.m. today for delivery to Atlanta.

    Not only were all the votes counted on Election Day, the recanvassing revealed that too many were counted. Twenty-five mail-in absentee ballots were counted that should not have been.

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  • Piggly Wiggly Wants to Open on Prince Avenue

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    Photo Credit: Davis Property Group

    An artist's rendering of 100 Prince.

    A Piggly Wiggly is seeking to open in the development slated for the former St. Joseph Catholic Church property at the corner of Prince Avenue and Pulaski Street, according to Athens Downtown Development Authority co-director Linda Ford.

    The Piggly Wiggly will be a "small, urban" store, similar to grocery stores in Atlanta, with a "retro design" and will fulfill downtown and nearby residents' long-standing desire for a grocery store, Ford said at the ADDA meeting this afternoon.

    "This is something downtown has wanted for a very long time," she said.

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  • Athens-Clarke County Will Recount a Third of Its Votes

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    Photo Credit: Blake Aued

    From left, Board of Elections members Jesse Evans, Michele Simpson and Charles Knapper and Director of Elections and Voter Registration Charlotte Sosebee.

    In any other year it would have been a mere formality. But an Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections meeting on Monday to certify the county's vote ended with a vote to recount eight precincts on an extremely tight deadline before sending the results on to the state.

    Newly appointed board member Jesse Evans submitted petitions to conduct a "recanvassing" in eight out of 24 precincts: Howard B. Stroud, Clarke Central, Lay Park, the multimodal center, Whitehead Road (which includes both 5A and 5B), Chase Street and Cedar Shoals.

    Under state law, three voters in a precinct can submit a notarized request to trigger a "recanvassing"—essentially a recount, followed by testing of voting machines—if they believe there is a discrepancy. Commissioners Melissa Link and Mariah Parker and Commissioner-elect Tim Denson worked with voters in their districts to submit the petitions, according to Link.

    That triggered a three-hour discussion among board members and attorneys—as well as, at times, some of the 20 or so activists who attended the meeting and interjected or were given permission to speak—about whether such a recanvassing could even be accomplished.

    The law requires a quorum of the Board of Elections and the poll manager for each precinct to be present, as well as giving notice to all of the candidates on the ballot and political parties so they can attend or send a representative. And the recanvassing has to be accomplished by mid-afternoon today, or ACC will be in violation of another state law requiring counties to certify their vote totals by 5 p.m.

    "This is all news to me," ACC Attorney Bill Berryman said when he learned about the petitions. He asked for and received an hour-long recess to research this issue.

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  • Deadline for Provisional Ballots Extended as ACC Prepares to Wrap Up Vote-Counting

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    About 175 Athens voters who cast provisional ballots have another few hours to resolve whatever issue led to them not being able to cast a regular ballot on Election Day.

    Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections staff has reviewed 218 provisional ballots cast by voters whose eligibility was uncertain. Of those, 43 have been counted and 175 are still unresolved, according to board member Jesse Evans.

    Ordinarily, voters have until the close of business the Friday after the election to resolve issues with provisional ballots. The BOE voted unanimously on Friday, though, to push the deadline to 4 p.m. today.

    “This would allow our community as much time as possible to resolve any issue with their provisional ballot,” Evans said.

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