NewsPub Notes

Voting Absentee: Necessary But Not Easy

So, from the safety of my quarantine somewhere in 30606, I received my absentee ballot, before the Republicans have had time to kneecap the USPS.

My first thought was, Where’s the second envelope, per the instructions? “3. After voting your ballot, enclose and securely seal the ballot in the smaller of the two envelopes provided, which is white and on which is printed ‘Official Absentee Ballot.’”

All I have is a folded sheet of white paper saying: 



Ha ha! That’ll teach us to try to vote by absentee ballot, against the wishes of our President, who tells us they’re crooked.

Turns out, the Kemp/Raffensperger State Voter Suppression Regime was just having their usual fun with us. 

Fortunately, our local Board of Elections website ( has an explanation: “Although the instructions in the Absentee Ballot package mention an envelope, voters should instead use the ballot paper sleeve. The Elections Office will accept ballots that do not include the privacy paper sleeve.”

So, in other words, just ignore the official instructions from the Georgia Secretary of State’s office and throw away the “privacy paper sleeve,” and your ballot will be fine.

Your ballot—which, by the way, has the wrong date on it, since the primary/election was postponed to June 9—is a combination primary ballot and nonpartisan general election ballot, or just the latter if you chose to stay out of the party squabbles.

In spite of all those names in all those races, there are only two-to-four contested elections on the nonpartisan general election ballot, depending on which ACC district you live in. The rest just give you the democratic prerogative of voting for incumbents who have no opposition, sort of like in Russia.

So, the contested non-partisan races? If you live in an even-numbered ACC district, I urge you to read the series concluding this Flagpole issue that has featured question-and-answer interviews with all the commission candidates. You can find your district’s candidates in the archives on Mariah Parker, in District 2, has no challenger. The District 4 Q&A is in the Apr. 22 Flagpole; District 6 is in the Apr. 29 issue; District 8 is in the May 13 issue and District 10 is in this May 27 issue. These interviews give you a pretty good idea of where the candidates are coming from, and they’re worth a careful read.

There’s one Board of Education race, in District 2, where Mary Bagby faces Kirrena Gallagher. Both are community activists who have or have had kids in the local public school system. 

The rest of the nonpartisan races are non-contested, except for two Georgia Supreme Court races, both of which include well-financed incumbents handpicked by the governor against underfunded challengers. According to the AJC, no incumbent State Supreme Court justice running for re-election has ever been defeated, so I say to hell with it.

Now, what about the primary races? 

John Q. Williams is challenging Sheriff Ira Edwards, Jr. Is it time for a change? The winner will face Republican Robert Hare.

Twelve of those people who ran in the national Democratic primaries for president are still on the primary ballot. So, you can still vote for Bernie, but it won’t matter.

If you grabbed yourself a Republican ballot, you only get to vote for the Trump guy.

In the U.S. Senate primary, the race is between former Columbus, GA mayor Teresa Tomlinson and investigative journalist Jon Ossoff, who is endorsed by Congressman John Lewis, for whom Ossoff interned while in high school. Tomlinson, Osoff and the other primary candidates are competing to be the Democrat who will run against Republican Senator David Perdue in November.

The other U.S. Senate race is not on this ballot, because it is a “jungle” special election in November, in which Gov. Kemp’s rich appointee Kelly Loefller defends her seat against Republican and Democratic challengers alike.

In the contested primary race for public service commissioner, Daniel Blackman and John Noel are both environmentally concerned Democrats who are vying to run against Republican commissioner Bubba McDonald so that they can rein in Georgia Power. Neither has a prayer.

If you live in the 10th Congressional District part of Athens-Clarke County, Tabitha Johnson-Green, who came out of Sandersville last time to win the Democratic nomination, is running again, this time against Athenian Andrew Ferguson. The primary winner will have the privilege of getting stomped by the Republican, Jody Hice, unless Trump’s coattails go up in smoke.

The sliver of Athens-Clarke that falls into the 9th Congressional District has three Democrats—Devin Pandy, Brooke Siskin and Dan Wilson—all newcomers to politics, running to be the Democratic sacrifice in the general election against a whole slate of Republican candidates that includes the owner of Athens gun store Clyde’s Armory and former congressman Paul Broun, Jr., who is raffling off an assault weapon as part of his campaign. Wonder if he bought it at Clyde’s?

Well, it’s a long ballot, and I may have missed something, even with this sketchy look at it. And of course, if you’re early voting or voting day-of, it’s the same ballot. And remember, voting is not a privilege, it’s a right, even if you don’t want to pretend that a piece of folded paper is an envelope.