A Message From Rep. Wallace (GA 119)

From Our Representative Jonathan Wallace:

Last week, I was disappointed to see a federal court reject a request that Georgia switch to paper ballots for this November’s election. Given the known weaknesses of Georgia’s voting technology, I believe paper ballots would give us the most confidence that every vote will be counted.

There are still steps we can all take, however, to protect our votes this year and going forward.

1. This year, consider voting by mail. You may not be able to cast a paper ballot on Election Day, but you can still cast one by voting absentee. Just mail an absentee ballot request form to your County Board of Elections, and they will send you your ballot. Then complete it, and mail it back.

You can download a ballot request form here.

In Athens, mail your request form to:

Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections

P.O. Box 1828

Athens, Georgia 30603

In Oconee, mail your request form to:

Oconee County Board of Elections & Registration

P.O. Box 958

Watkinsville, Georgia, 30677

For more guidance on voting absentee in Georgia, check out this great twitter thread by the election integrity activist Marilyn Marks.

2.  Support candidates who will fight for fair elections. Our current state government may have failed to safeguard our elections, but we can change that by electing officials who will protect the right to vote.

This year I sponsored a bill that would allow Georgians to pre-register to vote when they are 16, so their registration becomes automatic when they turn 18. Let’s make it easier to vote, not harder. I support an independent redistricting commission that will put an end to partisan gerrymandering. And as I recently had a chance to explain in this interview with Civicist, I’m ready to use my tech background to ensure Georgia’s voting technology is reliable and secure.

Let’s continue this important work together. I’m grateful for any support you can offer today.

Jonathan

A Message from the OCDC Chair

Hello everyone.

I am sending you this message to thank you for allowing me to represent Oconee County this Saturday at the 2018 Georgia Democratic State Convention as your State Committee member. I’ve never been to a State Convention before so I am looking forward to learning more about how our politics work at the state level. We will take lots of pictures and video to share. Tracey Wyatt and Dan Matthews will both be joining me as our delegate and alternate.

There are several different caucuses that Dan, Tracey and I are able attend. Please post a comment below to let us know which of these are important to you and we will each attempt to attend one and report back.

https://www.georgiademocrat.org/about/caucuses/

I heard we had a great meeting on Tuesday. Thank you to Ann Stoneburner and to everyone who contributed to the meeting.  Please know that as campaign season heats up you will begin to receive more emails regarding our ground game in getting all democrats on the ticket elected. If you are not yet on the email list, please come to an event and know that our meetings always remain open to the media and public.

If you haven’t donated to OCDC or to a candidate, please consider donating to them today. Any amount helps but I challenge you to try to find $50 and donate. Lots of people will be working around the clock, taking off work, making calls, knocking on doors, getting literature printed, hosting fund raisers and all of this costs money. If we want publicly funded elections and to eventually overturn Citizens United then we must publicly fund elections and walk the walk. 🙂

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ocgadems

With that, I and others are taking off election day. If you are able to request off now to make yourself available please do so. More details about how you can help will be available as we get closer to November.

My next task is to visit the YD at the high schools and get them involved. I’ll be at the Pride Booth and the art auction. Tracey and I have a meeting with a Statewide Coordinator for the Democratic Party of Georgia next week so we will know exactly how they want to use us and what makes the most sense in supporting all candidates down the ballot. Oh, and if you haven’t attend the Social Hour, you are missing out, please join us.

Lastly, if you feel so moved by what you see in the news or you just have some self reflecting thoughts that might inspire, move or impact others in a meaningful way, then write a blog  of 300-500 words and submit to ocgadems+news@gmail.com. It will be reviewed by another person and edited so don’t let a “grammar fear” keep you from letting others know what’s on your mind.

I appreciate all of you.

In solidarity,

Angie M. Eells

Chair, Oconee County Democratic Committee

Upcoming Events!

There are a lot of great events coming up in and around Oconee County.  All of these are posted on our Calendar page, so be sure to check them out!

  • August 14:  Oconee County Democratic Committee Social Hour.  5:30-7:00pm at The Pub On Main.  Come meet like-minded Oconee county residents.  There are more of us than you think!
  • August 21:  Oconee County Democratic Committee meeting at the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce, 6:30-7:30pm
  • August 28:  Silent Art Auction – Come out and support local artists and your favorite political party at Live Wire Athens.
  • During the Month of August the Oconee County Democrats are collecting hygienic items needed by school-age children right here in Oconee County and delivering them to Oconee Schools.  Information can be found here: HygieneKits.
  • Canvassing, Canvassing, Canvassing!  With just over 3 months until the mid-term elections, and local GOP trying to hold off the #BlueWave, it is vital that we lace up our shoes and hit the streets in support of Debra Gonzalez, Jonathan Wallace, and MariSue Hilliard.  Details on the Calendar page!

Primary Wrap-Up

Primary season officially ended at 7pm last night, and the Oconee Democrats would like to take a moment before we all dig into the General Election (November 6th!) to extend our thanks to all candidates for a great race.  Remember, it was only 2 short years ago when Congressman Hice ran unopposed, and we had 3 Democrats in the hunt for his seat this time. We have truly come a long way!

In addition, we Democrats have a lot to be proud of that we had so many women and minorities running for office.  We are truly changing the face of politics for the best!

Of course, the battle is not over, and we have a lot of work to do!  Here is a quick rundown of the general election candidates and their opponents:

Race Democrat Republican
Governor Stacey Abrams Runoff
Lieutenant Governor Sarah Riggs Amico Runoff
Secretary of State John Barrow Runoff
Attorney General Charlie Bailey Chris Carr
Comm. of Agriculture Fred Swann Gary Black
Comm. of Insurance Janice Laws Jim Beck
School Superintendent Runoff Richard Woods
Comm. of Labor Richard Keatley Mark Butler
PSC, District 3 Lindy Miller Chuck Eaton
PSC, District 5 Dawn A. Randolph Tricia Pridemore
US. Rep., District 10 Tabitha Johnson-Greene Jody Hice
State Senator, District 46 Marisue Hilliard Bill Cowsert
State Rep., District 117 Deborah Gonzalez Houston Gaines
State Rep., District 119 Jonathan Wallace Marcus Wiedower

We had some wonderful candidates in the primary season, and it was simply incredible to have so many progressive ideas in the conversation.  It is truly a shame that all candidates can’t win, but in a democracy, that is just how it works. Now is the time for everyone to come together to support our chosen candidates.  Regardless of whether your particular candidate won the nomination, we can all agree that the Democratic nominees are better for our communities than their GOP opponents.

It is worth pointing out that the top state offices will have runoffs on the GOP side, giving Democrats the advantage of campaigning for the General Election (November 6th) NOW while they are still sorting out their candidates.  This is an opportunity we can’t afford to squander!

It may seem like a long time until Election Day (November 6th!), but it will be here before you know it.  All of these fine candidates will be needing your support over the coming months, so please get involved and do what you can to help them succeed!

Did we mention that the General Election is on November 6th?

Now, about 2018…

Didn’t we just do this election thing?  And win it?  Well, yes… but that was only the 2017 special election, one race per district to fill the seats vacated by former Representatives Quick and Williams.  There’s still the regular 2018 election, with a whole slate of state, district, county, and local elections, plus our representative in the U.S. Congress.

So… for the first few months of 2018 we’ll have an eye on the Georgia legislative session, and we always have an eye on Congress (which is surprisingly necessary despite so little actually getting done), but… it’s time to talk about the road to November 2018.

Election Calendar

From the Secretary of State’s office, here are the key dates:

  • Voter registration deadline for the Primary: April 23, 2018
  • Primary election: May 22, 2018
    • Primary runoff, if needed, July 24, 2018
  • Voter registration deadline for the General Election:  October 9, 2018
  • General election: November 6, 2018
    • General election runoff, if needed: December 4, 2018

Additionally, although we don’t yet anticipate needing one, there could be a springtime special election on March 20, 2018; if so, its voter registration deadline would be February 20, 2018, and any runoff would be April 17, 2018.  No reason we’d need that, but… you never know.

Open Offices

There are a lot of offices up for grabs; you should consider running.  (We can teach you how,.)

Our candidates page lists the races that we know are currently in contention, but we might have missed one or two.  (Please tell us, by Facebook message or email, if you think we did miss anything!)  But this is the list of all the races we know are open, regardless of whether they have a Democratic challenger yet.

Federal

State

There are enough here that we’re going to separate the legislative, judicial, and executive positions:

Legislative

Judicial (non-partisan election)

  • Judge, state-wide Court of Appeals

Executive

County

  • Superior Court Justice for Athens-Clarke and Oconee Counties, departing incumbent David Sweat
  • County Commissioner Post 2, incumbent Chuck Horton (R)
  • County Commissioner Post 3, incumbent W. E. “Bubber” Wilkes (R)
  • County School Board Post 2, incumbent Amy Parrish (R)
  • County School Board Post 3, incumbent Kim Argo (R)

Local

  • Watkinsville City Council Post 3, incumbent Marcia Campbell
  • Watkinsville City Council Post 4, incumbent Christine Tucker
  • Watkinsville City Council Post 5, incumbent Dan Matthews

(None of Bishop, Bogart, or High Shoals have council seats open in 2018.  Bishop just elected a full slate to four-year terms, so they’re next up in 2021; the others have a half-council up in 2019.)

Interested in Running?

If you are, come to one of our meetings and talk to us about it.  Or contact us on Facebook or via this form to express your interest.

Even if you’re not sure, let us know; we can help you understand what the job would involve, what running for it would involve, and how we can help you do those things.  We can also help train you for the race, and maybe help you find volunteers to staff your campaign…

Calendar for 2017 Elections

It’s that time of year, as the “days until” countdown above shows.

The original schedule was adjusted slightly for the qualification deadline because of Hurricane Irma, but the critical dates are:

Last Day to Qualify: Friday September 15 If you want to run for any of this year’s offices, you need you have your paperwork filed and fees paid by today.  Typically that’s done at either the city or county election board offices.

Voter Registration Deadline: Tuesday, October 10  Anyone not registered to vote by this deadline can’t vote in 2017.   You can register on-line; remember you’ll need to bring a photo id to the polls.  (And if you miss the deadline, register anyway, to get it done… but you’ll have to wait until 2018 to cast your ballot.)

Early Voting: Monday, October 16 through Friday, November 3  If you want to vote, but don’t expect to be able to make the polls on November 7, here’s your window.  Early voting in Oconne is at 10 Court Street Watkinsville, GA 30677, Monday to Friday, 8AM to 5PM.  Absentee and mail-in ballots accepted in the same timeframe.  Saturday voting is available October 28 (only), 9am to 4pm, at the same location.

General Election: Tuesday, November 7 This is the big day.  Go to your polling place and cast a ballot!

Early Voting for Special Election Run-off: ends December 1  Assuming no candidate in the 119th race gets 50% on the first ballot (that’s the only race with more than two candidates), the top two face-off in a run-off.  The Secretary of State calendar doesn’t list a start for early/absentee voting on that (probably as soon as they can get ballots printed!), but the end is December 1.

Special Election Run-off: Tuesday, December 5 With four candidates competing for the 119th, if no candidate gets 50% of the vote on November 7th, it’s important that you cast your ballot again on December 5th.  (The run-off pits the top two candidates against each other.)

Preventing Charlottesville

At a recent event about the racist and counter-protest events in Charlottesville, organizers asked how we could prevent similar events from unfolding here.

It’s a good question: nobody wants a repeat here, but nobody should want to deny First Amendment rights either.  And while it’s great to talk about standing in united opposition (and we should)… the counter-protesters were doing that, and it helped to produce the terrible images we saw in Charlottesville, and contributed to the loss of Heather Heyer’s life, as well as two Virginia state troopers whose surveillance helicopter crashed.

So, yes, we should stand united in opposition… but exactly how?

First, the city should enforce the limits of its permits: the marchers had a permit to demonstrate in the park, and that was and should have been allowed.  They did not have a permit to march throughout the town, and that should not have been allowed.  With such a controversial gathering, for either left or right views, establishing and enforcing boundaries is key.

Second, there have been various reports suggesting Charlottesville police were and felt out-gunned.  Nothing credible suggests that caused them to stand aside… however, there are suggestions that changing to riot gear from street uniforms may have caused some delay in response when the situation deteriorated.  We should be prepared.  And, although Georgia law prohibits stopping anyone to ask about their firearms permit, once stopped for something else–such as disturbing the peace outside the permitted bounds of a demonstration—such an inquiry is allowable, and violation carries penalties.

Third, although the government may not infringe on free speech, the civil society itself can and should regulate hate.  We do not condone violence, and even a counter-protests can escalate, as we saw two weeks ago.  However, there have been several examples of strategies to shame, embarrass, or just befuddle these movements.

For example, if we were to collect pledges now, pledges for donations of whatever amount from citizens and businesses around Athens, to organizations like Black Lives Matter (or, dare we suggest, Democratic candidate committees and PACs) on a per-attendee, per-minute, or per-foot-marched basis of any such demonstrations here… then let them come.  Cheer them on, even.  Dress up to mock the occasion.  Embarrass them, and make their actions also provide support to their opponents.  Peaceably, and in cooperation with responsible policing, we can bring all the social pressure we can against them.

Call for Candidates!

We’re looking for candidates to stand for a number of local elections.  Elected officials are just regular people—people with jobs, families, and all the rest—who are willing to do the work to keep our towns and county working smoothly.  If you even might be interested, we’d love to know, and to help you learn what would be involved.  In fact, that’s the subject for our June meeting.

If you’re interested in learning more, either for yourself or someone else, there’s a form you can use to let us know, and we’re going to have a workshop at our June meeting to help answer people’s questions, featuring existing office-holders to speak about the process.  Send questions to ocgadems+candidates@gmail.com or (706) 705-2516.

Generally speaking, you need to “qualify” (that is, register so your town or the county knows you’re running) in August.  In many cases at the local level, that’s it: there may not be any opposition at all, and come the November ballot, you win.  In any event, the party is here to try to help you, and to help you understand the process and the steps.

Coming up for election in 2017 are:

Watkinsville

  • Mayor
  • Council Posts 1 & 2 (these aren’t district-based, just 2 of 5 posts, split by even/odd year elections)

Bishop

A full slate!

  • Mayor
  • Council Posts 1 through 4

Bogart

  • Council Posts 2 & 3

High Shoals

  • Council Posts 3, 4, & 5