Fulton, Lowndes counties follow DeKalb's lead and schedule Sunday voting

Two counties, Fulton in the north and Lowndes in the south, have joined DeKalb County and scheduled Sundays as early voting dates for next month.

Fulton County, in fact, will have two: Oct. 19 and Oct. 26. Lowndes County, with a county seat of Valdosta, will have one – on Oct. 26, just as DeKalb has planned.

“It’s certainly the departure from the norm. And it apparently has a partisan purpose behind – at least they admit it has a partisan purpose behind it of trying to increase the Democratic turnout….I don’t think anything that has to do with elections should be tilted one way or the other for partisan purposes.”

The governor added this: “I feel sure this is an issue that the General Assembly will probably be looking at very seriously come January.”

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Look for Secretary of State Brian Kemp's allegation, that the most prominent registration effort in Georgia has engaged in voter fraud, to be quickly brought into a Fulton County courtroom.

House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, who is heading up the effort, would only say that her group is "exploring legal options." But it is hard to miss the expansive nature of the search warrant the secretary of state has issued. It wouldn't surprise us if Abrams & Co. is soon asking a judge to force Kemp to be more specific about his intentions.

Our colleague Kristina Torres notes that Better Georgia, the Democratic-leaning advocate, found audio of Secretary of State Brian Kemp speaking this summer at a GOP breakfast warning about Democratic voter registration efforts -- with the implication, Democrats would say, that such efforts needed to be be stopped.

The audio clip is only 19 seconds long, and so it might not include any mitigating context. Some skepticism is required:

Nonetheless, here's the transcript:

"In closing I just wanted to tell you, real quick, after we get through this runoff, you know the Democrats are working hard, and all these stories about them, you know, registering all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on the sidelines, if they can do that, they can win these elections in November."

Gov. Nathan Deal, for his part, defended the state’s inquiry into voting fraud. Said Deal:

“I don’t think it’s an effort to suppress voters. I think it’s an effort to make sure voting is not riddled with fraud. None of us want our own votes reduced because people are registered improperly,” he said. “Any time you have that kind of effort going on, it needs to be stopped. And I’m sure his investigation will show whether that claim has validity.”

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Republicans also are eager to point out Stacey Abrams' ties to Michelle Nunn, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. The House minority leader is listed in the famous Nunn campaign memos as one of 10 members of Nunn's "kitchen cabinet," which is supposed to convene regularly for policy discussions and includes Sam Nunn, father of the candidate and a former U.S. senator.

In April, Abrams spoke to Roll Call about the importance of Michelle Nunn's candidacy to her voter registration push:

“People who didn’t register to vote for President Obama in 2012 or 2008, they did not have someone coming to their door saying we have a chance to win,” Abrams said. “With Michelle’s race, there will be a concerted effort to register and mobilize and turn out voters.”

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Todd Rehm at GaPundit has published a half-filled out voter registration form from the New Georgia Project mailed to a 14-year-old in Decatur.

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Voters in DeKalb County Commission District 1 will have five candidates to chose from in the Nov. 4 special election to replace confessed felon Elaine Boyer: Republicans Wendy Butler of Brookhaven, Larry Danese of Brookhaven, Nancy Jester of Dunwoody, Tom Owens of Doraville, and independent Holmes Pyles of Stone Mountain.

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Over at the Georgia Report, Tom Crawford takes a deeper look at the relationship between Gov. Nathan Deal and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, who visited Wednesday to give his campaign a boost.

While Deal was striving to align himself with Jindal on the issue of public education, there is at least one major difference between the two governors on school policy.

While Deal has wavered a time or two on the issue of the Common Core standards, he has largely maintained his support of the standards that underlie Georgia’s K-12 school curriculum (Deal’s predecessor, Sonny Perdue, also remains a major Common Core booster).

Jindal, on the other hand, has shifted 180 degrees on Common Core – he earlier supported the standards, but this year came down squarely in opposition to them.

Just two weeks ago, Jindal sued the federal government over the Common Core standards, contending that the U.S. Education Department violated federal law and the Tenth Amendment by forcing states to adopt Common Core.

Deal, we should note, betrayed no intention of joining that lawsuit anytime soon. The governor said he wants to wait until the broad review of Common Core education standards is complete.

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The saga of Michael Boggs' U.S. District Court nomination took another twist this week with the news that at least one Judiciary Committee Democrat supports his nomination. Boggs, now a state Supreme Court judge, has been held up by Democrats because of his record as a conservative rural Democrat in the state House in the early 2000s.

Roll Call has the latest:

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said in an interview on Tuesday that he backs district court nominees who have the support of their home-state senators.

Whitehouse said he spoke on the Senate floor in 2010 of the “powerful spirit of deference” to home-state senators, as Republicans tried to filibuster U.S. District Judge John McConnell for the federal bench in the District of Rhode Island. McConnell was confirmed in 2011.“It would be inconsistent of me to depart from that now,” Whitehouse said.

Along with votes in favor from the committee’s Republicans, the result could possibly be an unusual 9-9 tie vote, which means the nomination would not move to the full Senate. Even if the committee did vote to report the nomination, Reid has not indicated whether he would refuse to hold a floor vote on it.

But Democrats have good reason to keep the lid on Boggs:

A vote now on Boggs’ nomination would unnecessarily risk a potentially awkward intraparty conflict among Democrats, Senate aides and nominations experts familiar with the nomination said. Committee Democrats either could reject one of Obama’s judicial picks for the first time. Or the nomination could advance to the full Senate with opposition from many Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

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The National Rifle Association formally endorsed Republican David Perdue for U.S. Senate on Wednesday. From the news release:

“David Perdue is the only candidate in this race who will stand up to the Obama-Bloomberg gun control agenda,” noted Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA-PVF. “He firmly believes that the Second Amendment guarantees the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for all law-abiding Americans."

This was a foregone conclusion to those following the money in the Senate race: The NRA already has spent $264,000 on pro-Perdue mailers.

About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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