The 2020 voting is headed toward the finish line as the Nov. 3 General Election comes to a close next week.
Through Saturday, Oct. 24, there had been 5,141 Banks County citizens who had either voted by absentee ballot or by in-person early voting. This is 37 percent of the county's registered voters.
A breakdown of those who have voted so far includes 4,000 in-person voters and 1,141 mail-in ballots.
Early voting will continue this week through Friday, Oct. 30, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The only location for early voting is at the Banks County Election Office, located at 226 Candler Street in Homer.
Mail-in absentee voting began on Sept. 18 and will end on Oct. 30.
On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, all voting will be held at the Banks County Recreation Department, located at 607 Thompson Street, Homer.
ON THE BALLOT
Races on the ballot (with opposition) include:
•President: Donald Trump (incumbent), Republican; Joseph Biden, Democrat; and Jo Jorgensen, Libertarian.
•United States Senate: David Perdue (incumbent), Republican; Jon Ossoff, Democrat; and Shane Hazel, Libertarian.
•United State Senate: Al Bartell, Independent; Allen Buckley, Independent; Doug Collins, Republican; John Fortuin, Green; Derrick Grayson, Republican; Michael Todd Greene, Independent; Annette Davis Jackson, Republican; Deborah Jackson, Democrat; Jamesia James, Democrat; A. Wayne Johnson, Republican; Tamara Johnson-Shealey, Democrat; Matt Lieberman, Democrat; Kelly Loeffler (incumbent) Republican; Joy Felicia Slade, Democrat; Brian Slowinski, Libertarian; Valencia Stovall, Independent; Ed Tarver, Democrat; Kandiss Taylor, Republican; Raphael Warnock, Democrat; and Richard Dien Winfield, Democrat.
•Public Service Commission: Jason Shaw (incumbent) Republican; Robert G. Bryant, Democrat; and Elizabeth Melton, Libertarian.
•Public Service Commission: Lauren Bubba McDonald Jr. (incumbent), Republican; Daniel Blackman, Democrat; and Nathan Wilson, Libertarian.
•U.S. Representative in 117th Congress from 9th Congressional District of Georgia: Andrew Clyde, Republican; and Devin Pandy, Democrat.
•State Senator from 50th District: Bo Hatchett, Republican; and Dee Daley, Democrat.
There will also be two proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot:
•Authorizes dedication of fees and taxes to their intended purposes by general state law: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to dedicate revenue derived from fees or taxes to the public purposes for which such fees or taxes were intended? Yes or No
•Waives state and local sovereign immunity for violation of state laws, state and federal constitutions: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to waive sovereign immunity and allow the people of Georgia to petition the superior court for relief from governmental acts done outside the scope of lawful authority or which violate the laws of this state, the Constitution of Georgia, or the Constitution of the United States? Yes or No
One statewide referendum will be on the ballot:
•Establishes a tax exemption for certain real property owned by charities: Shall the act be approved which provides an exemption from ad valorem taxes for all real property owned by a purely public charity, if such charity is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internatl Revenue Code and such real property is held exclusively for the purpose of building or repairing single-family homes to be financed by such charity to individuals using loans that shall not bear interest? Yes or No
Banks County principals reported to the board of education at the October meeting last week that there continues to be low number of cases of COVID-19 at the four schools in the county. Superintendent Ann Hopkins also reported that the number of COVID-19 cases have been low this school year.
For the week of Oct. 19, two students and one employee have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 2,759 students and 404 employees in the school system.
Twenty-eight students and five employees have been quarantined due to possible exposure to COVID-19.
The number of cases are published weekly on social media (at Banks County Schools on Facebook).
During the monthly school updates given to the BOE at the meeting, the principals also reported that the number of students being served virtually has decreased. At the elementary school, 45 students (down from 72) are being served virtually. At the middle school, 51 students (down from 107) are being served virtually. At the high school, 85 students (down from 131) are being served virtually.
Other information presented by primary school principal Mandy Dale included: The school-side fundraiser is wrapping up; Coca-Cola product rewards are being collected; Little Leopards are working to earn Little Leopard Bucks by being “responsible, respectful, safe and kind.” A video was shown with students sharing why they are glad to be back at school.
Other information presented by elementary school principal principal Dana Simmons included: Celebrations are being held recognizing Students of the Month and for Behavior Rewards; a virtual Veteran’s Day program will be held; and each month, celebrations are being held for teachers. A video was shown of some of the celebrations that have been held so far this year.
Other information presented by middle school principal Mike Boyle included: Enrollment is up to 673 students; no in-person Veteran’s Day or Heritage Day programs will be held with virtual experiences to be held instead in the Social Studies classrooms; and Tisha Allen is the Year of the Year and Ricky Williamson is the Employee of the Year. A video on the student-produced morning show was presented.
Other information presented by high school principal Christine Bray included: The band brought home several first place awards from the recent Tournament of Bands; Woodman of Life donated $500 to the school which was used to purchase two picnic tables; a staff pumpkin decorating contest and COVID mask decorating contest are both planned; a blood drive will be held Nov. 2; a staff chili cook off will be held Nov. 6; Brittany Brown is the Teacher of the Year and Teresa Royston is the Employee of the Year.
In other business at the meeting, the BOE:
•approved a project request from the high school band to sponsored a BBQ plate sale on Nov. 14.
•approved the following personnel items after holding a closed session: hiring Amy Burchett, Robin Easley and Betty Nichole Marple, all paraprofessionals.
The Banks County Rotary Club sponsors the Food 2 Kids Program in the county school system.
“School isn’t just a place for learning,” organizers state. “For some of our most impoverished kids, it’s also the only reliable source of food in their lives. The sad truth is that from Friday afternoon until they return to school on Monday morning, some of these children may not know if or how much they’ll get to eat.”
Food 2 Kids is a program that helps bridge that gap for some of the community’s neediest kids. Sacks of kid-friendly food — enough for at least six meals — are handed out every week to children identified by school teachers, counselors and officials as being most in need.
The disposable sacks will have approximately seven to 10 pounds of food — enough for two days of meals. The food is in easy-to-open packaging and doesn’t require any cooking.
Sample contents of the food sacks include: Spaghetti and ravioli, applesauce, fruit cup, peanut butter, crackers, cereal, milk in shelf-stable cartons, toaster pastries, dried fruit, trail mix, fresh fruit, granola bars, macaroni and cheese, oatmeal and juice boxes.
A donation of $275 sponsors one child for an entire school year (40 weeks). All donations are tax deductible.
Mail in contributions can be sent to: Banks County Rotary, P.O. Box 54, Homer, Ga., 30547.
Banks County native Vicki Boling has been appointed to the Jackson EMC Foundation Board of Directors.
The Jackson EMC Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization established to represent the members of Jackson EMC and distribute money collected from members participating in Operation Round Up®. The 11-member volunteer board of directors meets monthly to review and select grant applications for worthwhile, charitable purposes that will improve lives and respond to immediate needs.
Since Operation Round Up’s beginning more than 15 years ago, the Foundation has awarded over $16 million through 1,566 grants to organizations and 389 to individuals.
Along with her father, Boling manages several family businesses in Banks County, including Document Destruction Services, Inc. and Data Survival, Inc.; as well as Books with A'Peal in Cornelia. Her career also includes working in a variety of positions for various software companies, and 13 years serving as a group sales manager for Chateau Elan.
She is a graduate of the Women’s College of Brenau University with a degree in Business Administration and Banks County High School. Boling is a graduate of Leadership Banks and the Georgia Academy for Economic Development.
Boling currently serves as president of the Banks County Rotary Club. She has been appointed to the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission, where she also serves on the Workforce Development Board of Directors. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Tree House; is a member of the Banks County Republican Party; and the Banks County Chamber of Commerce. Previously, she served as a member of the Banks County 10-year Land Use Plan Advisory Group and on the Banks County Census Committee. She is a member of Charity Baptist Church in Homer and frequently visits The Torch Worship Center in Demorest.