Newsletter: Update on Voting, Unemployment, and More

10.2.2020

Greetings:

I hope this finds you well. I know this has been a challenging year, and we are now moving into the heart of the election season. Tensions are likely to rise, and for the first time in my life I'm concerned about what might happen on election day—and the days that follow. I don't make these statements lightly. I've spent years abroad in service to our nation, and I've seen firsthand what happens when institutions break down and leaders foment civil unrest for their own benefit.

The peaceful transition of power has served our nation for more than two centuries, and we must all remain committed to that—whether our candidate wins or not.

Notwithstanding all the noise that is out there right now, I firmly believe that your voice matters and your vote matters. I encourage you to proudly cast your ballot. It's a privilege to live in a country where this is possible.

I believe we can, and must, do better. And I'm committed to do my part—the right way. I want to thank you for letting me serve as your representative.

Below you will find an update on a number of issues. I hope you will find it helpful. If so, please feel free to share it.

If there is anything that I can assist you with at the state level, please let me know. I will do my best to help.

Take good care.

Very truly yours,

Scott

Unemployment

I have heard from dozens of constituents who have had difficulty with the Georgia Department of Labor and were unable to receive responses despite repeated calls and emails. I have forwarded all of the inquiries that I received from constituents to the Department of Labor. Unfortunately, all too many Georgians waited for months, and some are still waiting.

If you filed a claim for unemployment, I can send a request on your behalf. However, as I note above, the process is still very slow. If you would like me to try to help, please send your name, email, address, county, last four of your SSN, phone number, whether you or your employer filed, type of insurance being claimed, the question or issue (e.g. why did my payments stop?), and any information that may be helpful (e.g. I was approved on August X but have not received a payment yet). Please send this information to scott@repscottholcomb.com and I will submit an inquiry for you.

Voting

Monday, October 5th is the last day to register. You can do so online:

https://registertovote.sos.ga.gov/GAOLVR/welcome.do#no-back-button

Ways to vote:

There are two main ways to vote: by absentee (paper) ballot, and in-person. Within each of these two methods of voting, you will be making some choices.

Absentee voting is accomplished by first requesting an absentee ballot via this link: https://ballotrequest.sos.ga.gov.

Please be careful when completing your absentee ballot. Be sure to fully mark in the circles, put the ballot in the inner envelope and sign the outer envelope, also printing your name.

You can return your absentee ballot via USPS or by putting it into a dropbox. I recommend using a dropbox. Dropboxes are conveniently located in both DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties, are placed in safe and secure locations, and are emptied daily. Your ballot is then processed by your county's election staff, and you will be able to track its acceptance via My Voter Page: https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do. At this website, you can also sign up to receive text messages from the Secretary of State's office that will provide the same information. Currently ballots are being processed within a day or two of being placed in the dropbox.

Here is a link to the current locations of dropboxes in DeKalb County. Please note that additional dropboxes are being installed by DeKalb County in the near future to ensure that no one has to travel far to use one.

https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/voter-registration-elections/voter-information

Here are the current locations of dropboxes in Gwinnett County:

https://www.gwinnettcounty.com/web/gwinnett/departments/elections/ballotdropboxeslocations

Note that there is one located at every Gwinnett County library.

Dropboxes are available 24 hours a day, and there is surveillance.

In-Person voting can be done via advance voting or Election Day voting. Of the two, I recommend advance voting to avoid possible long lines or voting machine malfunctions that could slow things down on Election Day. Remember too that the pandemic may affect the number of poll workers.

October 12th. Advance voting begins.

Click here for advance voting locations in DeKalb:

https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/sites/default/files/users/user304/Adv%2011-3%20LOCATIONS%20AND%20HOURS_V2.pdf

Click here for advance voting locations in Gwinnett:

https://www.gwinnettcounty.com/web/gwinnett/Departments/Elections/AbsenteeVoting-Civilians/AdvanceVoting

October 24th. Saturday voting is available.

(See links above for details).

November 3rd. Election day.

I would recommend everyone be patient on election day. Counting the ballots will take time.

Referenda on the Ballot

I will be voting yes on all of the measures.

In DeKalb, there is a measure to address the appointment of members to the Ethics Board. I recommend you vote yes.

Here are details:

https://dekalbcitizens.org/2020/09/the-ethics-question-on-your-ballot-for-november-2020/

In Gwinnett, there are measures on education and transportation.

Statewide, there are a few measures:

Const. Amendment 1

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to dedicate revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which fees or taxes were intended?

The language of these ballot measures is usually a tangled mess of intentionally misleading words. This one isn't and is fairly straightforward. The idea is to have monies that are paid for specific fees or taxes be used for those intended purposes and not for the general fund. Vote yes.

Const. Amendment 2

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to waive 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?

In 2017, the Georgia Supreme Court held in Lathrop v. Deal: "Simply put, the constitutional doctrine of sovereign immunity forbids our courts from entertaining a lawsuit against the State without its consent." The purpose of the Amendment is to open the courthouse doors to our citizens if the state government is acting outside the scope of its authority or violating the law. This is a good governance measure. Vote yes.

Statewide Referendum A

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 Internal 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?

Establishes a tax exemption for certain real property owned by charities (such as Habitat for Humanity). Vote yes.

FAQs on Voting

I am frequently asked questions about the different methods of voting. You may find this FAQ helpful:

Q: If I vote by absentee ballot, does that mean that my vote might not be counted for several days after Election Day?

A: No. For example, in DeKalb County, the ballots are being processed as they arrive at the county's elections department, and will only need to be tabulated on Election Day when the polls close, just like same-day ballots.

Q: Is there a better chance that my vote will be counted if I wait until Election Day?

A: Your vote will be counted no matter how or when you vote.

Q: Can I vote at any polling place on Election Day?

A: While you can vote anywhere in your county for Advance voting, you must vote at your assigned polling place on Nov. 3. That said, as I write this, some voting locations are still being determined. You may or may not receive a new card in the mail. If you plan to vote on Election Day, be sure to check the MVP site for information on your assigned precinct's location.

You can download your personalized sample ballot by logging in at MVP: https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do

Budget

I continue to closely track the economy and the budget. Here are a few articles on the subject.

"I think we are in a period of prolonged uncertainty," Holcomb said, until a coronavirus vaccine is created. "It is very difficult to make any solid policy judgments or decisions in this atmosphere." https://www.ajc.com/politics/georgia-hangs-onto-savings-account-despite-fears-of-massive-fiscal-downturn/XCF76CR5UFELNK3LUQLZ5TRIO4/

State Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, who serves on England's committee, said much the same thing. "We are not out of the woods yet," said Holcomb, who practices securities law. He said the strong stock market performance since March is "divorced" from other economic indicators.

https://www.ajc.com/politics/this-year-state-agencies-cut-next-year-they-say-they-need-700-million-more/7U2BW366J5BGBB4N4PKFAJ3QVE/



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