Motion to dismiss delays Georgia’s ballot fraud lawsuit

News, Politics
unseal ballots motion to dismiss

ELLIJAY. Ga – Fulton County filed a motion to dismiss the election integrity lawsuit. Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero issued a motion to stay in the case until he could rule on it.

Friday, May 28, was originally the day plaintiffs’ and Fulton County’s council convened to decide a process for reviewing the unsealed November 2020 election absentee ballots. However, Fulton County’s motion to dismiss resulted in a delay of the case until June 21.

Garland Favorito

Plaintiff Garland Favorito, of VoterGa.org, explained that Fulton County’s attempting to get out of the lawsuit and place the case solely on the shoulders of Fulton’s Board of Elections and Registration. VoterGa.org originally sued the board of registration and elections, but the court added Fulton County to the suit. Amero’s interpretation of Georgia’s new sovereign immunity law in such a way that the county would need to be included.

Fulton County’s hired the law firm Garland, Samuel, and Loeb to represent it. The firm specializes in three areas criminal, personal injury, and business litigation.

Favorito commented that the new motion “doesn’t appear to have a ton of validity” and is hopeful the judge will throw it out at the next hearing. His group is currently working on their response.

As for the Department of Justice becoming involved, Favorito doesn’t believe the federal government will intervene with the state’s case.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) has gone on record supporting legal investigations into election integrity while condemning corruption in Fulton County. His office has also filed an amicus brief in this case, trying to protect voter’s rights, but Judge Amero decided to unseal the ballots anyway.

Favorito added the plan to review the ballots will probably continue after July 4 unless Judge Amero dismisses the case.

Favorito addresses the hurdles leading up to the ballot audit

News, Politics
Garland Favorito ballot audit

ELLIJAY, Ga – November 2020 election integrity lawsuit plaintiff Garland Favorito labeled the obstacles facing the ballot audit a “battle between establishment and grassroots” Republicans.

On Friday, Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero granted the motion to unseal ballots in Fulton County.

The ballots will be scanned to produce 600 dpi dots per inch) high-resolution images for a forensic audit. However, only the court and Fulton County employees will be allowed to handle the ballots.

unseal ballots

Henry County Superior Court on Friday, May 21, 2020.

Petitioners and Respondents council along with the court will convene on Friday at the ballot’s location to discuss further protocols.

Following the order, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger released a statement:

“From day one I have encouraged Georgians with concerns about the election in their counties to pursue those claims through legal avenues. Fulton County has a long standing history of election mismanagement that has understandably weakened voters’ faith in its system. Allowing this audit provides another layer of transparency and citizen engagement.”

Favorito remarked the statement was “carefully crafted as not to lie” when read the statement. He asked if Raffensperger was in favor of election transparency then why did his office file an amicus brief against their lawsuit through the Attorney General.

He added that the Secretary of State has issued more “roadblocks” than Fulton County itself. He stated that Raffensperger is “adamantly opposed to election transparency in the state.”

The Secretary of State’s Office has conducted three recounts of the November Election, including a hand recount.

All three came back confirming the election results. During the almost daily press briefings following the November election, Gabriel Sterling, Secretary of State Election Official, tried to quell claims of widespread voter fraud and asked individual voters to report and suspected issues to their office.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger

Earlier in the year, the state board of election aced on more than 300 cases of voter fraud, several were referred to the Attorney General for prosecution.

Raffensperger’s also voiced support of Georgia voter reform efforts, claiming it would not result in voter suppression. He added on Twitter that he’s always encouraged voters to use legal channels when pursuing election disputes in their counties.

Lack of leadership: Vernon Jones attacks Governor Brian Kemp

News, State & National
Vernon Jones

ELLIJAY, Ga – Former State Representative and Trump ally Vernon Jones continued to flirt with the idea of running for Georgia Governor as a Republican.

Jones switched the Republican Party in January after previously stating he had no plans to do so. However, his tweets “if I were governor” suggested he wants to primary current Governor Brian Kemp (R).

At 10 a.m. at Liberty Park on Friday, April 16, Jones will make an announcement whether he is running or not. If he does announce, it’s like Trump will endorse him.

He’s promised an “overhaul” of Georgia’s election system if he was governor but didn’t go into details.

As for switching parties, Jones asked for the same treatment as past Republicans who started out as Democrats, such as former Governor’s Sonny Perdue and Nathan Deal. If reelected, Kemp will be the first life-long Republican to reattain the office since Reconstruction.

Jones added that not everyone agrees, and no one should expect 100 percent agreement. He claimed that Democrats disagreed with his conservative nature for 30 years, and now, he no longer has to abide by their rules.

Kemp’s leadership or lack there of was the focus of Jones talking points. He wanted to know why Kemp let MLB pull the All-Star game from Georgia, what actions did he take to prevent it? Did Kemp speak with Delta about their objections to SB 202. According to Jones, Kemp’s failures to address voter integrity issues months ago, cost Georgia money.

Accusing Kemp of hiding and letting the General Assembly clean up his mess, Jones attacked the governor for not taking a proactive role in November 2020. He didn’t call a special session to discuss election issues. Several Democrats and Republicans have praised Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) for not bending to the will of Trump during that time.

However, other Georgia voters lost faith in the system after the General Election. Legislators spoke at length during the 2021 Session about constituents calling to express their voting concerns.

“Crisis in our state” Senator Gooch outlines plan to prevent voter fraud

Feature News, Featured, Featured Stories, State & National

ELLIJAY, Ga – State Senator and Majority Whip Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega) outlined the senate plan to prevent voter fraud accusations in the future.

The state senate is holding an Oversight Committee hearing on Thursday, December 3 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 450 of the State Capitol. They will be evaluating the election process to ensure the integrity of Georgia’s voting process.

Later, a Judiciary Special Subcommittee will convene on Thursday, December 3 at 1:00 p.m. in Room 450 of the State Capitol. They will take testimony of elections improprieties and evaluate the election process to ensure Georgia’s voting integrity.

Livestreaming will be available at https://livestream.com/accounts/26021522/events/8730585

“We will be able to look at the process of this election and all elections going forward,” Gooch explained. “We’ve got to start today. First, we’ve got to start today to get both Senators David Perdue (R) and Kelly Loeffler (R) reelected, but we also have to start today on election reform in Georgia.”

They want input from the public and people with evidence of any election wrongdoing to come forward so that they can take swift action. However, the state oversight committee doesn’t possess the same subpoena power enjoyed at the federal level.

The Georgia General Assembly can’t call a special session without a 3/5 majority unless the governor calls them back to the Capitol. Right now, the oversight committee hearing is their best option until the Assembly opens on January 11, 2021.

“We want to get to the bottom of some of the allegations put out there,” Gooch said. “If anyone has done anything wrong, they need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I don’t care who that person is.”

According to Gooch, Governor Brian Kemp’s emergency powers are “narrowly defined” to only address the COVID-19 issue. He couldn’t call a special session to address the election using these powers. Also, Georgia Code 38-3-53 outlines that the General Assembly can meet “through the initiative of the members thereof following an emergency or disaster resulting from manmade or natural causes or enemy attack impending or affecting this state.” No mention of potential voter fraud or elections.

Also, the Democrats won’t vote to go into a special session to overturn election results.

“Can the Georgia State Senate overturn the results of November 3? I don’t think we can. Can a court system do that? Possibly. I think that’s where the course of action has to take place at this point in time. It has to come from the court system. I don’t know anything that we’re going to get done in the next eight to ten days that’s going to overturn what’s happened,” Gooch stated.

Georgia Voter Confidence

The Majority Whip went on to address the lost confidence in the voting system among Georgians.

I believe voters have lost confidence in the system as it is today. They do not trust the integrity of the voting system that we have in place right now. Whether that is a correct feeling or not, that’s the assumption that I get when I hear from my constituents,” he said.

Gooch went on to say it was “imperative” that the judge’s rule on the election lawsuits as soon as possible. If the Dominion system proved corrupt, then there is a possibility of removing the machines before the runoff.

“We have to have that proof. We have to have that documentation,” Gooch affirmed. “We have to that ruling from a court system in order to establish the fact that those machines are tainted, and they can’t be relied upon in this January 5 election.”

According to Gooch, the most likely area for Georgia’s voter fraud occurred in the absentee ballots’ verification process. He added that no one in Georgia should be allowed to sign their name and send in an application to receive a ballot. Everyone should “show up in person and show a photo ID.”

“I personally would like to do back to the original way we voted, and that is everybody came and voted in person unless you were in the military or you had a specific reason why you could not show up to vote on election day,” Gooch explained.

He’s also against ballot drop boxes, calling them “a book drop at a public library.”

“January 5 has just become the most important election in our lifetime. We have to preserve some balance of power in the U.S. Congress. Otherwise, you have Democrats running the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, and the Presidency, and that could have devastating impacts on us for decades into the future. We have to get out the vote,” he finished.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rb-q6abQ2HY&feature=emb_logo

Kenneth “Ode” Henderson is the new sheriff in Town

Election, Featured News, News
Henderson Sheriff

HIAWASSEE, Ga – 40 votes that’s all that separated the two sheriff candidates and sealed a victory for Kenneth “Ode” Henderson in Tuesday night’s runoff election.

Out of 3,720 votes cast, Henderson received 1,880, and his competition Daren “Bear” Osborn garnered 1,840.  He was officially declared the winner before 9:30 p.m.

Henderson carried two of the three Towns County Precincts – Young Harris and Hiawassee. Osborn won Macedonia.

The newly elected Sheriff faces zero democratic competition in November and will be sworn into office in January 2021. He will be replacing current Sheriff Chris Clinton, who decided not to run for reelection in 2019.

Currently, Henderson serves as the Chief of Police at Young Harris College and an officer for the city of McCaysville, Ga. He grew up in Towns County and campaigned on Second Amendment Rights, drug rehabilitation programs, ending the drug trade, community policing, training, law enforcement visibility, and availability.

Henderson said the following concerning his win on Facebook,

“I am absolutely so honored and humbled to be elected as your Towns County Sheriff! I so greatly appreciate the support, encouragement, endorsements, donations, all the hard work from my campaign team, and most importantly all of YOU for getting out and making your voice heard! To anything and anybody else that made this possible, a huge THANK YOU!!
As I’ve vowed from the beginning of my campaign, I will strive to do my very BEST to serve and protect this wonderful county with honesty, integrity and determination! Don’t hesitate to contact me for anything, and again THANK YOU TOWNS COUNTY for electing me your Sheriff! I won’t let you down!”

State Senate District 50

In another tight race that is still too close to call as of 11:52 p.m. on Tuesday Habersham Commissioner Stacy Hall and lawyer Bo Hatchett are separated by just 34 votes with 100 percent of the precincts reporting. Earlier in the night, Hall led Hatchett by 64 votes. Hall is committed to an election review of the race with several absentee and overseas ballots outstanding.

House of Representatives Ninth District

When it came down to two choices, the people of the Ninth District clearly chose Andrew Clyde over Ga-8 Rep. Matt Gurtler. Clyde received 56.28 percent of the vote with 95 percent reporting. Gurtler won 43.72 percent. Gurtler did carry Towns and Union County, his strongholds, but Clyde earned the majority of votes in at least 15 of the 20 Ninth District counties.

Clyde will now go on to face Democrat Devin Pandy in the November General Election. Pandy also won his runoff against Brooke Siskin with 68.38 percent of the vote.

To see vote totals by precinct, click here.

Feature image courtesy of Henderson for Sheriff Facebook.

 

 

 

 

Andrew Clyde declares victory in Georgia’s Ninth District

Featured, Featured News, Featured Stories, News
Clyde victory Ninth District

NORTH GEORGIA – Earlier tonight, Andrew Clyde said, “I’m declaring victory tonight” to a room full of supporters in Commerce, Ga. after he clinched the GOP nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives Ninth District seat.

The night ended fairly early for gun shop owner and Navy Veteran with the race being called before 10 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11. Clyde won 55.96 percent of the vote with 85 percent reporting. Gurtler received 44.04 percent of the vote. He carried at least 15 of the 20 counties in the Ninth District. Gilmer County was still out at the time this article was published.

President Donald Trump has already called Clyde to congratulate him on winning a hard-fought race.

Clyde at his victory party in Commerce. Ga.

Now that the runoff is over, Clyde and company will turn their eyes to November. The Republican candidate will face Democrat Devin Pandy, who also won his runoff tonight.

Whoever wins on November 3rd will take Representative Doug Collins (R) seat in the House of Representatives. Collins is currently in a race for Kelly Loeffler’s (R) senate seat.

Clyde will be appearing on FYNTV.com with Brian Pritchard on Thursday at 8.am.

See how all the statewide races in FYN’s coverage area turned out, here.

Interested in viewing local races? Visit the specific county to see who won their runoffs.

Towns County August 11 runoff election returns

News
General Primary runoff election

TOWNS COUNTY, Ga – The polls have closed for the August 11 runoff election. To review the unofficial election returns for your local, state, and federal races, check out the list below. Please remember all the results are unofficial until certified by the Secretary of State.

Kenneth Henderson won by 40 votes over Daren Osborn. Gurtler carried Towns in the District Nine race and Hall carried Towns in 1,872. In the Democratic Primary Runoff, Devin Pandy won with 239 votes.

Precincts: 5 reporting

COUNTY TOTAL

Sheriff

Republican

Kenneth “Ode” Henderson – 1,880

Daren “Bear” Osborn – 1,840

Senate District 50

Republican

Stacy Hall – 1,872

Bo Hatchett – 1, 678

U.S. House of Representatives District 9 

Republican

Andrew Clyde – 1,589

Matt Gurtler – 2,032

Democrat

Devin Pandy – 239

Brooke Siskin – 129

PRECINCT TOTALS

YOUNG HARRIS

Kenneth “Ode” Henderson – 679

Daren “Bear” Osborn – 458

MACEDONIA

Kenneth “Ode” Henderson – 569

Daren “Bear” Osborn – 807

HIAWASSEE

Kenneth “Ode” Henderson – 632

Daren “Bear” Osborn – 575

To see the state election returns, click here. This article contains the overall race winner and identified runoffs for State House, State Senate, U.S. House, and U.S. Senate in FYN’s coverage area.

The General Election is scheduled for November 3 as well as the jungle primary for Senator Kelly Loeffler’s seat.

Georgia being called for President Trump

Featured Stories, News
President Trump Georgia

ATLANTA, Ga – InsiderAdvantage has called Georgia for President Donald Trump with almost all the votes counted.

“InsiderAdvantage Chairman Matt Towery says, ‘I was amazed that Georgia was not called last night. There are not enough votes available to bring this race much closer or to create a contested situation. There was no Democratic wave in Georgia, despite what most pollsters and the national media had trumpeted.'”

Towery is a veteran pollster and has accurately polled the winner of every state so far.

Georgia has 16 electoral college votes and will take Donald Trump to 229. Joe Biden currently has 238 electoral college votes.

See the complete InsiderAdvantage story, here.

VIDEO: 2020 Towns County Sheriff Candidates’ Forum

Election, News
Towns county Sheriff Candidates Forum 2020

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The COVID-19 scare did not prevent a crowd of constituents from attending the 2020 Towns County Sheriff Candidates’ Forum held Saturday, March 14. Each of the five contenders were asked a series of questions in a staggered order, ranging from their plans for the sheriff’s office to how they intend on handling the law enforcement agency’s operational budget. A consistent theme throughout the forum was the contenders’ ambition to instill community policing and combat the drug problem in the area.

FYN provided a live-streamed video of the forum for viewers to watch in real-time.

https://youtu.be/zC2-8lAQBfs

The forum was hosted by the Towns County Republican Party and moderated by John Van Vliet, a professor at Young Harris College. Candidates for Towns County’s next sheriff — Jim Couch, Linda Curtis, Kenneth Henderson, Lisa Joseph, and Daren Osborn — had informational tables set up in the lobby of Towns County Schools for citizens to learn more about their campaign platforms and obtain signs or stickers of support.

Each candidate issued opening and closing statements between the multiple questions submitted by Towns County residents. A mild rift occurred when contestant Joseph stated that she was a good choice for sheriff due to her short time residing in the county and lack of kin who could be shown special treatment if a native Towns Countian was elected. Candidate Osborn, a lifelong resident of Towns County, took advantage of the time allotted for his closing statement to respond to Joseph’s statement, vowing that the insinuation would not be the case if elected.

Interestingly, the five candidates responded in limited terms when asked where their campaign contributions stemmed, with the contestants listing self-funding and “family and friends” as donors. Candidates are required to file a campaign contribution disclosure statement with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission in order to disclose the identities of financial backers. Osborn, however, divulged that his contributions have amounted to approximately $10,000 thus far.

Contender Henderson publicly canceled his March 31 “meet and greet” as a health precaution due to the coronavirus outbreak. Towns County Republican Chair Betsy Young announced at the start of the forum that no cases of COVID-19 had been reported in the Ninth District as of March 14, 2020.

16 Towns County candidates qualify for 2020 election

Election, News
Towns County 2020 qualifying

HIAWASSEE, Ga.- The qualifying period for multiple Towns County offices began Monday, March 2, with seven candidates filing the first day. Qualifying ended at noon, Friday, March 6, with a total of 16 candidates officially entering the county races.

The voter registration deadline to cast a ballot in the General Primary is April 20, 2020.

Click here to register to vote

The earliest date for voters to submit an absentee ballot in the General Primary is March 31, 2020.

Advanced-in-Person Early Voting begins on April 27, 2020.

The General Primary Election will take place on May 19, 2020.

A countywide SPLOST referendum and Hiawassee fluoride referendum for voters to decide will appear on the ballot.

Towns County Candidates:

COUNTY Qualifying

Towns County Office of Commissioner

Cliff Bradshaw (Incumbent – Republican)

Sheriff

Daren Osborn (Republican)

Kenneth Henderson (Republican)

Jim Couch (Republican)

Lisa Joseph (Republican)

Linda Curtis (Republican)

Towns County Office of Tax Commissioner

Bruce Rogers (Incumbent – Democrat)

J.C. Berrong (Republican)

Towns County Office of Coroner

Harold Copeland (Incumbent – Republican)

Tamela Cooper (Republican)

Towns County Clerk of Superior Court

Cecil Dye (Incumbent – Republican)

Towns County Magistrate/Probate Judge

David Rogers (Incumbent – Republican)

Towns County Board of Education

Post 1 – Macedonia

Brandon Grimsley (Non-Partisan)

Post 4 – At Large

Stephanie McConnell (Non-Partisan)

Post 5 – At Large

Stephen Green (Non-Partisan)

Caroleen Woods (Non-Partisan)

STATE Qualifying

District 8 State Representative

Stan Gunter (Republican)

Steve Townsend (Republican)

Dave Cooper (Democrat)

State Senate District 50

Andy Garrison (Republican)

Stacy Hall (Republican)

Bo Hatchett (Republican)

Tricia Lyne Hise (Republican)

Dee Daley (Democrat)

Dan Gasaway (Republican)

Public Service Commission District 4

Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Jr. (Incumbent – Republican)

Nathan Wilson (Libertarian)

Daniel Blackman (Democrat)

John Noel (Democrat)

Judge of Superior Court Enotah Circuit

Joy R. Parks (Incumbent – Non-partisan)

FEDERAL Qualifying

Ninth District U.S. Congress

Michael Boggus (Republican)

Andrew Clyde (Republican)

Matt Gurtler (Republican)

Maria Strickland (Republican)

Kevin Tanner (Republican)

Ethan Underwood (Republican)

Devin Pandy (Democrat)

Paul Broun (Republican)

John Wilkinson (Republican)

Dan Wilson (Democrat)

Kellie Weeks (Republican)

Siskin (Democrat)

United States Senate – Perdue Seat

James Knox (Democrat)

Jon Ossoff (Democrat)

Teresa Pike Tomlinson (Democrat)

Tricia Carpenter McCracken (Democrat)

Sarah Riggs Amico (Democrat)

Shane Hazel (Libertarian)

Marc Keith DeJesus (Democrat)

Maya Dillard Smith (Democrat)

David Perdue (Incumbent – Republican)

United States Senate – Loeffler Seat (Special Election in November) 

Kelly Loeffler (Incumbent – Republican)

Doug Collins (Republican)

A. Wayne Johnson (Republican)

Kandiss Taylor (Republican)

Tamara Johnson-Shealey (Democrat)

Matt Lieberman (Democrat)

Joy Felicia Shade (Democrat)

Ed Tarver (Democrat)

Richard Dien Winfield (Democrat)

Al Bartell (Independent)

Allen Buckley (Independent)

Brian Slowinski (Libertarian)

Derrick E. Grayson (Republican)

Rod Mack (Write-In)

Annette Jackson (Republican)

Deborah Jackson (Democrat)

Jamesia James (Democrat)

Raphael Warnock (Democrat)

Michael Todd Green (Independent)

Valencia Stovall (Independent)

John “Green” Fortuin (Green)

The Presidential Preference Primary takes place on March 24, 2020, and early voting opened on March 2. The mandatory Saturday voting will be held on March 14.

Here’s a list of all the federal and state races that are qualifying in 2020. If needed, a General Primary run-off will take place on July 21, 2020.

Fetch Your News will keep updating this article as more candidates qualify.

 

Continue to follow FYN for up-to-date campaign coverage as the 2020 election cycle advances.

 

UPDATED: Towns County candidates qualify for 2020 election

Election, News
Towns County GA election

HIAWASSEE, Ga.- The qualifying period for multiple Towns County offices began Monday, March 2, with seven candidates officially filing the first day. Qualifying ends at noon, Friday, March 6.

According to the Towns County Board of Elections and Registration, as of March 2, no Democratic or Independent candidates had yet qualified.

FYN will update the list of candidates in the upcoming election daily as additional candidates join the race.

The General Primary election will take place on May 19, 2020.

 

Towns County Candidates:

 

Towns County Office of Commissioner:

Incumbent – Cliff Bradshaw (R)

 

Towns County Office of Sheriff:

Daren Osborn (R)

Kenneth Henderson (R)

Jim Couch (R)

Lisa Joseph (R)

Linda Curtis (R)

 

Towns County Office of Tax Commissioner:

Incumbent – Bruce Rogers (D)

J.C. Berrong (R)

 

Towns County Office of Coroner:

Incumbent – Harold Copeland (R)

Tamela Cooper (R)

 

Towns County Clerk of Superior Court:

Incumbent – Cecil Dye (R)

 

Towns County Magistrate/Probate Judge:

Incumbent- David Rogers (R)

 

Towns County Board of Education:

(Non-Partisan)

Post 1 – Macedonia

Brandon Grimsley

Post 4 – At Large

Stephanie McConnell

Post 5 – At Large

Stephen Green

Caroleen Woods

 

Information for voters and qualifying Towns County candidates

News
Towns County GA elections

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Board of Elections Chair Janet Olivia released the following information for candidates intending to seek office in the 2020 election:

In accordance with O.C.G.A. § 21-2-153(c)(2), notice is hereby given that the Towns County Board of Elections and Registration will be conducting qualifying of candidates for public office in the 2020 elections on behalf of the Democratic Party in Towns County. Qualifying will commence at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, March 02, 2020 and conclude at 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Friday, March 06, 2020. Qualifying will be conducted at the Towns County Board of Elections and Registration Office located at 67 Lakeview Circle; Suite A; Hiawassee, Georgia 30546.  The Towns County Board of Elections will also conduct qualifying for nonpartisan and independent candidates for the 2020 elections. Republican Party candidates qualifying for public office in Towns County will submit the appropriate documentation through their designated party representative(s). 

Although the Towns County Board of Elections office opens at 8:30 am, qualifying begins at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 2 – the time prescribed by state law – and runs throughout the week, Olivia explained.

Towns County GOP Chair Betsy Young informed FYN that qualifying for Republican candidates will take place at the Towns County Courthouse in the Jury Room on the upper level. The hours scheduled are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from March 2 through March 5, and from 9 a.m. until noon sharp on Friday, March 6. “We will have some board members helping at different times,” Young added.

The General Primary will be held Tuesday, May 19. The voter registration deadline to cast a General Primary ballot is April 20, 2020.

“The last date in which an individual can register and be eligible to vote in the Presidential Preference Primary, Special Election, and Special Election Runoff is February 24, 2020,” Olivia said. “Advance (Early) Voting begins on March 02, 2020, and ends on March 20, 2020. Advance Voting will be held at the office of the Towns County Board of Elections and Registration located at 76 Lakeview Circle; Suite A in Hiawassee, Georgia from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., including one Saturday, March 14, 2020.”

Click to register to vote online

Click to view full election calendar

The earliest date for voters to submit an absentee ballot for the General Primary Election is March 31. Advanced in Person Early Voting begins on April 27, 2020.

Continue to follow FYN for information as the 2020 election cycle progresses.

 

FetchYourNews.com attracts over 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month with a 60,000 Facebook page reach. Approximately 15,000 viewers visit FYNTV.com

If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of our counties of coverage, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

Rep. Gurtler on decision to seek U.S. Congressional seat

Election, News
FYNTV - Matt Gurtler

ELLIJAY, Ga. – State House Representative Matt Gurtler spoke with FYN CEO Brian Pritchard in a live FYNTV interview, Feb.13, on the state budget cuts, related HB 4, and his announcement to run for the 9th Congressional District seat vacated by U.S. Senate-seeking Representative Doug Collins.

Gurtler, who is running on a platform of limited government, free markets, and individual liberty, said that the decision to run for U.S. Congress did not come lightly, and reached through deliberation and prayer. “We looked at the State Senate seat, we looked at the Congressional seat and had an opportunity to go up to Washington D.C. to meet with the conservative leaders in the House and also the Senate, and theses individuals and individuals reaching out to me across the District really encouraged me to run,” Gurtler said. “They’ve been watching me, and that I’ve been standing up to the powers that be, and the insiders in Atlanta and the special interests and the bloated budgets, and so it was sort of flattering that they noticed me there. And so we came back, and me and my family prayed, and we made the decision for Congress. We feel that we have a lot of support around the District. We’re going to work our tail off. We’re going to put tens of thousands of miles on the car again and wear the soles out on our feet and just bring the message of limited government to a wider audience, and a national audience if we are elected, so that we can really educate people.”

https://youtu.be/ydZImhFJnik

Gurtler said that members of the House and Senate voiced a need for “revolutionaries” to educate people on a national level, specifically against socialism. The State House Representative, who was in Washington D.C. during the telephone interview, divulged that he met with the Young Americans for Liberty, Freedom Caucus, and Club for Growth – an organization that is spending millions to fight Congressman Doug Collins in the U.S. Senate race.

Gurtler added that he received an endorsement from Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

The 8th District representative later shared his support for the Second Amendment in a social media post. “Our founders understood the right of self-defense is a natural and God-given right,” Gurtler wrote. “Red Flag laws and gun confiscation legislation like we see in Virginia, are dangerous to the principles of a free society and go against our constitutional rights. I will stand up for our 2nd Amendment rights in Washington DC just as I have done from day one at the State Capitol these past 4 years.”

Continue to follow FYN for local, state, and national campaign coverage as the May 19 primary election approaches.

 

 

 

Sheriff’s candidate strives for ‘open dialogue’ with citizens

Election, News
Daren Bear Osborn

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – A clear line of communication between law enforcement officers and the citizens that they serve is an integral component of effective policing, and it is a topic that Towns County sheriff’s candidate Daren “Bear” Osborn chose to publicly address Feb. 11.

“I believe that the best way to protect our citizens is to be informed about current issues, problems, and public safety needs in our county,” Osborn stated. “I believe that a strong partnership between law enforcement and local citizens through community policing and information sharing will serve our county well. Many problems can easily be solved through clear communication, open dialogue, and complete transparency. I believe a strong sheriff can lead and serve humanely and compassionately without adversity. A sheriff’s ability to enforce the law without conflict or aggression speaks to his character.”

According to FYN’s research, the U.S. Department of Justice agrees. “Transparency is essential to positive police-community relationships,” the national agency explained. “Strong relationships of mutual trust between police agencies and the communities they serve are critical to maintaining public safety and effective policing. Police officials rely on the cooperation of community members to provide information about crime in their neighborhoods, and to work with the police to devise solutions to crime and disorder problems. Similarly, community members’ willingness to trust the police depends on whether they believe that police actions reflect community values and incorporate the principles of procedural justice and legitimacy.”

Osborn, an active member in the Towns County community long before election season officially began, has spent a vast amount of time practicing what he preached in the form of public outreach. The sheriff’s candidate has met one-on-one with countless residents thus far, gaining a deeper insight into citizens’ concerns.

Osborn said, as sheriff, he will continue encouraging Towns County citizens to bring problems to the attention of law enforcement. “Together, we can accomplish all our goals in making Towns County a safe, pleasant, and respected county in which to live,” Osborn concluded.

Continue to follow FYN for local, state, and national campaign coverage as the May 19 primary election approaches.

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SPLOST to fund $8M courthouse renovation

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Towns County SPLOST

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – A Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SLOST) decision is set to appear before the Towns County voters on the May 19 general primary ballot. Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw announced plans for the “conservative figure” of $12 million in anticipated revenue, generated over six years, should the SPLOST referendum pass.

Click to read: SPLOST to appear on spring ballot

Commissioner Bradshaw told FYN on Feb. 10, that $8 million of the SPLOST revenue will be applied toward the renovation of the Towns County Courthouse. Bradshaw said that he consulted with several architects before deciding on the firm, Clark Patterson Lee, a New York-based company with offices located throughout the southeast. The firm was selected to draft a “concept drawing” to present to the citizens in a series of upcoming Town Hall meetings. Contracting the company into the construction management stage, however, will not take place before the passage of May’s vote. Should the plan progress, Bradshaw said that the construction process itself would be put out for bid. Qualification will be the premier consideration, followed by cost.

Towns County Courthouse

Towns County Courthouse

Bradshaw is scheduled to meet with the architectural firm on Thursday, Feb. 13, when surveyors visit the courthouse to take measurements and photographs of the aged structure.

“I spoke with all of the judges and elected officials in the courthouse and asked them to put into writing their suggestions,” Bradshaw told FYN, Feb. 10. “All of the suggestions were the same; a holding cell for court prisoners, an additional, smaller courtroom, handicap-accessible restrooms, a family restroom, and a secure hall for the judges to enter and exit the building.”

Additional SPLOST revenue will be divided as follows:

  • Roads/Bridges: $600,000
  • Towns County Fire & Rescue: $500,000
  • Parks/Recreation: $140,000

Funds allocated for the fire department will be used primarily to update emergency vehicles, Bradshaw said, and the amount budgeted for roads and bridges will provide necessary equipment for the road department. Upgrades and repairs, such as fencing material, may be needed for local parks and recreation.

The cities of Hiawassee and Young Harris, who have opted to benefit from the special-purpose tax, will each receive an estimated one million, eighty thousand dollars in revenue over the six-year course if the voters pass the May 19 referendum.

SPLOST is an optional one-percent sales tax levied by a county to fund the construction of parks, schools, roads, and other public facilities.

 

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Cooper addresses ‘conflict of interest’ in coroner’s race

Election, News
Tamela Cooper - coroner race

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Tamela Cooper, a challenging candidate in the Towns County coroner’s race, responded to a public “hidden agenda” inquiry from a supporter of the incumbent, calling into question whether it may be a conflict of interest for a funeral director to jointly serve as a county coroner. Cooper, the co-owner of Banister-Cooper Funeral Home in Hiawassee, has served as a Towns County deputy coroner since 2013. Cooper will face first-term Coroner Harold Copeland in the May 19 general primary on the Republican ticket. Copeland, who ran unopposed in 2016, simultaneously serves as Towns County’s fire chief.

“Of the 154 Coroners in Georgia, almost half are funeral directors (48%). In addition to these 74 elected coroners that are funeral directors, many more deputy coroners that are hired by the Coroners are directors,” Cooper explained. “A few examples around us where Coroners are also funeral directors include White, Rabun and Habersham Counties. The truth is, the link between funeral directors and Coroners is pretty simple. Funeral directors are accustomed to being woken in the middle of the night, supporting grieving families and a high attention to detail. One thing the best funeral directors have in common is that attention to detail; we want everything perfect no matter how small it may seem to someone else and, even if the extra step goes unnoticed, we simply want things as perfect as possible. Maybe that means carefully placing 5 long stem roses evenly along the cap panel of a casket for a family or maybe it’s a director standing in the same spot for 8 years watching every movement inside their chapel. The point is, we look for the smallest of details and plan for action before it is an issue, the things I often call our ‘just in case.’ That attention to detail is a major asset when given the investigation side of being a coroner. We have the desire to get things right and close to perfect because of our natural attention to the smallest of details. People who select to care for decedents and grieving families do not wake up one morning and just decide this is what they want to do. Honestly most of us push off fulfilling our calling just to make certain we are positive we are being led into a heartbreaking career that often involves middle of the night calls, extremely early mornings, tears and many deep breathes before walking into a home where we know we are about to hurt along with a long served family.”

Over the course of several conversations, Cooper told FYN that her empathy and compassion sets her apart in the contested race.

“I’ve never questioned my career choice, not even when a very helpful paramedic was ripping a sticky fly trap out of my hair on a scene,” Cooper continued. “Even then, I pulled it together and completed my work before tending to that extremely sticky substance in my hair. I wake every day and know I may face losing my shoes in a lake bank, dodging chickens on a chicken farm, or wiping tears from a mother’s cheeks. We are born to serve in the death care field, so it makes perfect sense that we would be naturally drawn to the coroner job. Having been a deputy coroner for 7 years, I have served over 150 families via the coroner’s office and can assure you that no matter what funeral home a family selected, I placed that family into another professional’s hands just as professionally as when I placed them into my staff’s hands. If you give me the honor of being Towns County’s next Coroner, I can assure you that not only will I take care of your loved ones, but also I will never push or even suggest that anyone use my funeral home; that is a choice that the family makes and I respect. More often than not, unless the family knows exactly who I am, they never know I am a funeral director. Of the many scenes that I have been on and the hundreds of first responders and family members that were on those scenes, any of them can attest to the fact that I have never promoted my funeral home.”

Cooper added that out of the 155 deaths that she has responded to since 2013, over half of the decedent’s final plans were handled by funeral homes other than Banister-Cooper.

“Fortunately, most of the people of Towns County will probably never have to deal with a Coroner and that leaves a little bit of mystery about what the experience is like,” Cooper said. “Coroners are not usually involved with hospice, nursing home, and in-patient hospital deaths. We do not come out in a hearse with a funeral home name or dressed with funeral home identification. We usually come out in a personal vehicle and introduce ourself with our name and title of Coroner or deputy coroner. When it comes time to ask for a funeral home, we ask an open-ended question such as, ‘What funeral home would you like for me to contact?’ Once a funeral home is chosen, we call the chosen funeral home and have them send a hearse; if the chosen funeral home happens to be mine, I call another staff member to come.”

Qualification for Towns County’s elections, including that of coroner, begins March 2. 2020.

Featured Image: Provided by Tamela Cooper.

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