Thursday, May 30, 2024

Oconee County Republican Voters In May 21 Election Favored Closed Primaries, Democratic Voters Want To Repeal Six-Week Abortion Ban

***Election Board Certifies Results***

Two-thirds of Oconee County voters who participated in the May 21 Republican Party Primary favored a closed primary in which only registered Republicans would be allowed to vote.

Six in 10 of the Oconee County Republican voters asked for hand-marked paper ballots, scanned and verified by hand count on live stream video, and nearly eight in 10 approved of a statewide vote on allowing gaming in Georgia.

Almost all of the Oconee County voters participating in the Democratic Party Primary want the state to incentivize clean energy production, to repeal the current six-week abortion ban, and to improve access to safe, affordable housing.

In general, Oconee County Republican and Oconee County Democrat voters answered these questions, put on the ballots by the state party leadership, much like their counterparts around the state.

In response to locally generated questions, Oconee County Democratic voters strongly rejected the idea that citizen committees should be allowed to overrule professional librarians and the idea that teachers should be incentivized to carry guns in the classroom.

The Oconee County Board of Elections and Registration verified these responses to the nonbinding questions last week as it certified the results of the May 21 General Primary/Nonpartisan General Election, in which 24.1 percent of the county’s 7,431 active voters cast a ballot.

Analysis of certified voters files released earlier this week showed that 17.5 percent of the ballots cast in the May 21 election in Oconee County were with a Democratic Ballot, 79.5 percent were with a Republican Ballot, and 2.9 percent were with a Nonpartisan Ballot.

John Barrow, who focused his nonpartisan campaign for the State Supreme Court on reproductive choice, received nearly twice the number of votes in Oconee County as the number of persons who chose the Democratic Party Ballot.

Ballot Analysis

The analysis of the votes for Barrow, a well-known former Democratic Congressman, and for incumbent Andrew Pinson, appointed to the Supreme Court by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, can be interpreted in two ways.

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It could be that many voters who chose the Republican Ballot because of the competitive local races might consider themselves to be Democrats.

The 35.6 percent figure that Barrow received is just higher than the 32.7 percent Democrat Raphael Warnock received in the county in the December 2022 runoff election for U.S. Senator and the 32.4 percent that Democrat Joseph Biden received in the county in 2020.

The 17.5 percent of voters using the Democratid Ballot is much lower than those voting figures would suggest it should be.

Only Absentee By Mail voting reached nearly that expected level, with 31.5 percent of those ballots Democratic. But only 3.7 percent of the votes cast were overall were Absentee By Mail.

It also is possible that Democratic turnout was low due to the lack of competitive races and that Barrow received votes from Republican-oriented voters.

The publicly released data files do not break the nonpartisan judicial election results down by votes separately for the Democratic, Republican, and Nonpartisan ballots.

Since Georgia does not have registration by party, voters who ask for the Democratic Ballot are in a real sense Democrats that day, and voters who ask for the Republican Ballot are Republicans that day.

Republican Items

The item on the Republican Ballot asking about closed primaries masks the fact that to close a primary based on party registration, it would be necessary to change Georgia’s voter registration laws to allow registration by party.

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It isn’t possible to know how voters would have responded to that question.

Oconee County voters responded differently from voters across the state only on two questions. (Oconee County voters are included in the state totals.)

In Oconee County, 59.1 percent of the voters who selected the Republican Ballot favored “hand-marked paper ballots, scanned and verified by hand count on live stream video,” compared with 64.3 percent in the state as a whole.

And 77.2 percent of Oconee County voters using the Republican Ballot said “public officials who allow illegal migration to occur (should) be held responsible for crimes committed by illegal aliens,” compared with 83.1 percent in the state as a whole.

Oconee County also tended to differ from neighboring counties on these two questions.

In Barrow County, 66.0 percent of the voters with a Republican ballot wanted paper ballots, in Clarke County it was 64.2 percent, and in Jackson County it was 61.0 percent.

In Barrow County, 85.6 percent of those using the Republican Ballot wanted to hold public officials who allow illegal immigrant accountable for the crimes those person commit, while that figure was 78.3 percent in Clarke County and 84.1 percent in Jackson County.

Democratic Items

Those using the Democratic Ballot in the May 21 election in Oconee County gave more approval to a number of items on the ballot than did Democrats in the state as a whole.

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Local Democratic voters were more supportive of gun legislation, of incentivizing clean energy production, of allowing same-day voter registration, and of protecting reproductive freedom that Democratic voters statewide. They also were more opposed to school vouchers.

In general, Oconee County Democratic voters were closer to those in Clarke County in how they responded than to the state as a whole.

On the five local items, only 9.4 percent of those using the Democratic Party Ballot were supportive of citizen committees overruling professional librarians, 13.4 percent said private religious instruction has a place in public schools, and 5.8 percent wanted to have teachers carrying guns in schools.

The vast majority (92.4 percent)–but not all–local Democrat Party voters said “election results in the state of Georgia in the last three cycles have been impartial and correct?”

Only 45.4 percent said they feel that they “have sufficient recourse with the Board of Education or Board of Commissioners?”

It is difficult to know how to interpret that item because it includes two distinct Boards but allows only one answer.

Certifying Results

The May 24 meeting of the Board of Elections and Registration was a special meeting to certify the results of the May 21 election.

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Shortly after the Board Members present--Chair Jay Hanley, Republican Party designee Kirk Shook, Democratic Party designee Ken Davis–finished the vote on certification, Hanley said he wanted to make a comment.

“I want to thank our office staff, our poll workers, for a great job,” Hanley said. “You all work under tremendous amount of stress, especially the last several years.”

“We're very fortunate to have very efficient, very accurate election staff workers,” Hanley continued. “We have for a number of years. We're very fortunate and just thank you all for you all’s work.”

“We appreciate you all,” he continued. “I know you all don’t hear it as much as you all should, but you all deal with many requests that are very time consuming. But you all do it with a smile, and we thank you all.”

“Well, it's our pleasure to serve the citizens of Oconee County,” Director of Elections and Registration Sharon Gregg responded.

“That’s right,” added Assistant Director Jennifer Stone.

All three Board Members present clapped in a sign of appreciation.


The video below is of the meeting of the Board of Elections and Registration on May 24.

Hanley began his comments praising the staff and poll workers at 11:02 in the video.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Just people, normal people, doing their job to the best of their ability.
James Cairns