Early voting in the 2020 General Election begins today in Georgia

It may have seemed like it would never get here, but the General Election is finally underway in Georgia. Early voting begins today, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. In Walton County, it will take place at Nowell Recreation Center, 201 W Spring St, Monroe, GA 30655 or Meridian Park, 1010 Generation Blvd (off Highway 81 in Loganville.) There will be no early voting in Social Circle or Walnut Grove for this election. The election is on Nov. 3. Oct. 24 is the only Saturday offering early voting in Walton County. 

You can vote early to avoid crowds or you can request an absentee ballot . Click on the following link to request an absentee ballot. You also can vote on the day of the election at your regular precinct. If you want to know what to expect on the ballot, take a look at the sample ballot at this link.

Click or tap on this link for relevant information regarding this year’s vote in Walton County.

There also will be a Special Election on the ballot for Walton County regarding a Transportati􏰀on Special Purpose Local Op􏰀on Sales Tax (TSPLOST) 

Shall a special one percent sales and use tax be imposed in the Special district consisting􏰀 of Walton County for a period of ti􏰀me not to exceed five (5) years and for the raising of not more than an estimated net amount of $60,000,000 for transportation􏰀 purposes?

If you want to know more about the TSPLOST vote and what you will get for your extra 1 cent tax, click or tap on this link for a Walton County Chamber forum with Walton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Kevin Little and the mayors of local cities.

You will also find some local races on the sample ballot. If you want to know more about your options, the Walton County Chamber of Commerce also hosted a forum, which you can watch below.

Georgia Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), who is on the ballot up for re-election, has shared an explanation of the state Constitutional Amendments that also are on the ballot. 

“The two amendments that propose additions to the Georgia Constitution that passed this year are House Resolution 164 and House Resolution 1023. The legislature also passed House Bill 344, which provides a specific property tax exemption if approved by Georgia voters. These three items are Republican-led initiatives that you will be voting on this year,” Williamson said. “I am proud to have voted ‘yes’ on each of these items when they came to the floor.”
House Resolution 164 Requiring Taxes and Fees to be used for their intended purposes
House Resolution 164, would amend the Georgia State Constitution and allow the Georgia General Assembly to dedicate funds the state collects from fees or taxes to the purpose for which the taxes are imposed.To ensure the fees are used for the intended purpose, the law creating the fee must refer to the amendment to the Constitution; specify the purpose for which the fee will be used; identify which state agency will administer the funds; and require an annual reporting of the use of the funds. Additionally, the fee must include a “sunset date” (or end date) no later than ten years from when the fee is first imposed. 
House Resolution 1023 Protecting Georgians from Government Lawsuits that are outside the lawful authority of the government(Sovereign Immunity)
HR 1023 would allow Georgians to maintain a lawsuit seeking relief from acts taken by state or local governments that are outside of the government’s lawful authority or violate the Georgia or United States Constitution. Typically, state and local governments are entitled to “sovereign immunity,” making it more difficult for citizens to bring lawsuits against governments. This amendment to the Georgia Constitution would remove that “sovereign immunity” in these particular circumstances. No damages, attorney’s fees, or litigation costs can be awarded in a lawsuit authorized by this amendment.
Representative Andy Welch sponsored this measure. 

Here is his well reasoned logic for passing this amendment in his own words:
“So what is sovereign immunity? This is an age-old legal doctrine from England that says the King can do no wrong and thus cannot be sued unless the King consents. Our Supreme Court has said that our State Constitution includes sovereign immunity as a protection against suits against the State and local governments. 
Let’s say that the State passes a statute that says Georgians may have only one political sign in their yards, or a local building director refuses to issue building permits for any new churches in your area; or a state or local official begins issuing land disturbance permits in environmentally protected areas, or a local government passes an ordinance that prohibits the licensed carry of firearms.  Without the amendment, you may not sue the State of Georgia or your local government in Georgia courts to stop such action. (The only way you could get justice is to sue in Federal Court or sue all the elected officials or the public employees personally which be very difficult and costly.) The protection of sovereign immunity can be waived, however, but only by a bill passed by the General Assembly and approved by the Governor or by constitutional amendment. We in the General Assembly have passed two bills to waive sovereign immunity, but two different governors have vetoed those bills. As a result, the General Assembly has asked the people of Georgia to decide through this amendment.  If you think the doors of Georgia Courts should be open to allow her citizens to sue and protect their statutory and constitutional rights against government intrusion, then you should vote for this amendment. If you think it’s time to allow our state judiciary to return to being a proper check on the balance of power in this State, then you should vote for this amendment.
The amendment only applies to lawsuits alleging a government action is unconstitutional or in violation of state or local law. While it allows Georgians to sue to STOP the unlawful action, it does not allow the award of monetary judgments, court costs, or attorneys’ fees. This amendment will all suits to be filed against the State or local governments – cities and counties — not individual members serving or working for these governments. (It’s already hard enough to get good people to serve in public office or public employment, they shouldn’t have to worry about being sued personally.) The waiver of sovereign immunity will only apply to actions taking place on or after Jan. 1, 2021.”
House Bill 344E – Exemption from Property Tax for Charities that provide low-cost homes
House Bill 344, sponsored by Representative Matthew Gambill, establishes a property tax exemption for real property owned by a purely public charity that is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. The charity must hold the real property exclusively to build or repair single-family homes that will be financed by the charity with no-interest loans. An example of this type of tax-exempt organization is Habitat for Humanity. 

Note changes to the following voting precincts for the day of the election.

Change of Polling Place West Monroe Voting Precinct

Notice of Change of Polling Place for Bay Creek Voting Precinct

Notice of change of Polling Place for all voters in the Social Circle Voting Precinct

Change of polling place for South Monroe Voting Precinct (First Baptist Church)

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