HIAWASSEE, Ga. – FetchYourNews (FYN) was notified that the Towns County Board of Elections plans to discuss the possible closure of the Tate City voting precinct Wednesday, Sept. 11.
“We will be approaching the subject of possibly consolidating the Tate City precinct,” Towns County Elections Supervisor Tonya Nichols said Tuesday. “No votes can be taken to consolidate, based on the code section yet, so this will be the beginning stage of the subject.”
Should the election board unanimously agree to consolidation, Tate City voters could potentially merge with the Macedonia precinct. The next step in the process, if advanced, will be public notification through media sources.
FYN spoke with Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw on the matter Tuesday afternoon.
“Members of the election board, along with myself, visited Tate City and let residents know that we plan to let them decide whether or not to close it. If they want to keep it open, that’s fine. If they want to close it, great. We explained the difficulty in transporting the new voting machines, and many of the Tate City voters have chosen early voting at the Hiawassee office in the past.”
As of Sept. 10, a total of 43 Towns County residents were registered to vote in the rural town of Tate City. The distance between Tate City and the Macedonia voting precinct is approximately 14 miles.
The Sept. 11 board meeting will be held at the Towns County Elections Office, adjacent to the Towns County Courthouse, at 4 p.m.
The meeting is open to the public.
Follow FYN for updates on future plans for Tate City voters.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The election in the 2018 run-off race between Georgia Secretary of State and Public Service Commission will be decided tomorrow, Dec. 4, and during last week’s early voting, a total of 1,136 Towns County voters had cast their ballots at the Hiawassee precinct.
The breakdown, obtained by FYN from the Towns County Board of Elections, revealed that 1,114 voters arrived in person at the polls, while 22 submitted absentee ballots by mail.
A total of 6,166 ballots were cast in Towns County during the 2018 general election, a voter turnout of 65.69%
The Hiawassee, Macedonia, Young Harris, and Tate City polling prercincts will be open on Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Towns County Elections Director Tonya Nichols said that three voting machines will be available at the assigned locations.
For the office of Secretary of State, Republican Brad Raffensperger faces Democrat John Barrow. In the race for Public Service Commission, Republican Chuck Eaton verses Democrat Lindy Miller.
Count on FYN to deliver local and state results in real-time on election night.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Early voting for the 2018 midterm run-off election begins Monday, Nov. 26, and runs through Friday, Nov. 30. The Hiawassee voting precinct, located at the Towns County Board of Elections, will open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with polls open until 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29.
“Several people have come into the office, asking when early voting starts,” Towns County Elections Director Tonya Nichols told FYN, “That may be an indication that there’s interest in the run-off.”
Nichols relayed that the elections office is waiting for absentee ballots to be delivered to Towns County. Applications are available online through the Secretary of State website.
The election to decide Georgia Secretary of State and Georgia Public Service Commission will be held Tuesday, Dec. 4.
Vying for Secretary of State, Republican Brad Raffensberger received 49.13 percent of the vote in the general election and Democrat John Barrow received 48.64 percent. In the race for Public Service Commission, Republican incumbent Chuck Eaton received 49.74 percent of the vote, while Democratic challenger Lindy Miller received 47.60 percent.
Polling precincts in Hiawassee, Macedonia, Tate City, and Young Harris will be open on election day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Count on FYN to deliver the results as the ballots are counted.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Election day has come and gone, and the deadline for provisional voters to prove eligibility in the general midterm arrived today. Towns County Board of Elections reported that of the nine provisional ballots cast in Towns County, all were submitted out-of-precinct, meaning that nine local votes will not increase the state sum.
FYN was at the Hiawassee election precinct when one such provisional voter arrived at the polls, minutes before the closing bell on election night. After exiting the ballot box shortly after 8 pm, a man who identified himself as Sunni Wolfe agreed to speak on-record with FYN’s reporter. Wolfe, who could not produce identification for poll workers, claimed to be homeless and living at an undisclosed campground in the Towns County area. Wolfe explained that he left the metro Atlanta area five months prior, and did not have a local address to register. Wolfe was provided a provisional ballot by election officials, and when asked by FYN, voiced no issue with the process. A record request obtained on Nov. 8 revealed that Wolfe was registered in Fulton County, however, resulting in a futile Towns County vote.
Election official Kathy Norton imparted that additional out-of-precinct voters arrived at the Young Harris polling location on election day, including a student attending Young Harris College who claimed that he had received an email stating that his vote would count regardless of a lack of local registration. According to Norton, each voter was provided with a provisional ballot.
“Anyone can vote, but every vote doesn’t always counts,” Towns County Board of Elections Director Tonya Nichols explained, “Georgia law requires voters to cast their ballots in the county in which they are registered.”
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Early voting in the Nov. 6 General election has reached its second week, and with two weeks left until Election Day, the Towns County Board of Elections Office has witnessed a surge in voter participation.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 0ver 1900 voters had cast their ballots at the Hiawassee precinct, and the Election Board considers the amount especially high. Election Board Director Tonya Nichols included an additional electronic voting booth to the three already in use last week, once it became evident that voters would arrive in mass, in an effort to eliminate a wait time.
Towns County Board of Election staff and poller, Kathy Norton, reported a steady stream of voters flowing into the precinct at any given time since early voting began on Oct. 15. “It’s definitely a much higher count than usual during a midterm,” Norton told FYN.
Additional counties in FYN’s area of coverage throughout North Georgia are reporting a similar spike in numbers.
State statistics show a nearly double increase amount in absentee ballots returned in 2018, in comparison to during the 2014 midterm election.
A heavy amount of voters continue to arrive at the Old Rock Jail Musuem, which was once the Hiawassee precinct, suggesting many could be casting ballots for the first time in years.
Towns County Board of Elections is located at 67 Lakeview Circle in Hiawassee. Ballots can be cast Monday through Friday during early voting, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The polls at the four Towns County voting precints will open from 7 a.m. to 7 p,m, on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6. Towns County Board of Elections asks voters to have thieir photo identification in hand as they reach the registration area.
In addition to five state amendments listed on the ballot, two local referendums related to alcohol sales appear. The first resolution applies to county liquor-by-the-drink sales at licensed establishments. The second choice concerns the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays within Hiawassee city limits, cited as the “Brunch Resolution,” which would allow consumers to purchase spirits at 11 a.m. rather than the currently prescribed 12:30 p.m.
Hiawassee residents will solely have the option to vote on the Brunch Resolution.
Count on FYN to deliver immediate local results as the totals are tallied on Nov. 6.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Board of Elections spent Tuesday, Oct. 2, testing the accuracy of local electronic voting machines ahead of the 2018 General Election. “In the simplest terms, the process involves making sure that what is pressed on the machine is what’s recorded,” Towns County Elections Director Tonya Nichols explained to FYN, “It’s something that’s done every election year in Towns County.”
A certified Information Technology (IT) specialist was on-site, conducting the study when FYN visited.
Towns County Board of Elections plans to operate a total of 20 machines on election day, divided between the county’s four voting precincts. Three machines will be available at the main election office in Hiawassee to cast early ballots.
FYN inquired into reports of public concern regarding election hacking, and whether the Board believes paper ballots would safeguard the integrity of the election process. Nichols assured that it would be extremely difficult to rig the system, as each machine latch where the card recorder is located is secured by lock and key, and the voting ports are not connected to the internet. Nichols went on to say that altering paper ballots is a more viable concern as voters do not always fully complete ballots, leaving portions blank.
Georgia is one of 14 states lacking a paper trail for voters to self-verify.
The deadline to register for the November General Election is Tuesday, Oct. 9. Voters may register in person or online via the Secretary of State website.
Early voting begins Monday, Oct. 15, at the Towns County Board of Elections in Hiawassee. All four precincts will open on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Designated precinct locations are listed on the voter registration card received by mail.