If you are not incredibly drained by this challenging year so far, please reach up, around and give yourself a nice pat on the back. You, hopefully your family and friends, are in the main still standing. The month ahead, between now and the Tuesday, November 3, 2020 General Election may well be described to you in Apocalyptical terms. It’s not.
This will NOT be the most important election in the history of our nation. I could make strong cases for Lincoln’s re-election campaign in 1864, under his newly created “National Union” party. Yes, you got that right, after launching the Grand Old Party (GOP) in 1860, President Abraham Lincoln selected a Democrat, U.S. Senator Andrew Johnson, the sole southern state member of the U.S. Senate who never left for the Confederacy as his running mate, to help unify the nation as the Civil War was drawing towards a close. The election of 1800, between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, was also quite a doozy. Challenger Thomas Jefferson, of the then Democratic-Republican Party defeated incumbent President Adams, of the Federalist Party.
And yes, in each case, America later thrived...though the periods in front of the election itself may have been quite unpleasant. In the days and weeks ahead, assuming the murder hornets don’t actually land, or the locusts don’t return (they have already been through the midwest and Vegas during the past year), and if we are blessed to see enough Americans take their flu vaccines to avoid a twin concurrence of a massive flu outbreak atop the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, the brutality of the coming political season will likely linger into the holiday season, as the ballot tabulations and court challenges to the same may last long after Election Day. Think of the Florida hanging chad crisis of 2000, and the election of Bush vs. Gore sort of as a warm-up lap.
Tuesday, September 29 - Date of the first of three Presidential debates (followed by October 15 & 22) and one Vice-Presidential candidate outing(October 7). Undecided voters are in single digits, it will likely require a major gaffe or near knock-out punch from either candidate to change many minds.
Tuesday, October 5 - New voter registration cut-off date, 30-days ahead of election day. The easiest way if you are not already a registered voter, or have not been active in more than six years, is the Georgia Secretary of State My Voter Page, or renew or receive a new driver’s license in Georgia. Voter registration is automatic unless you opt-out.
Tuesday, October 12 - Advance voting begins across the state and includes a day of Saturday voting on October 24. Early voting ends on Friday, October 30. No excuse Absentee voting is already underway. Cast your ballot as soon as possible, drop in the U.S. Mail by Tuesday, October 27, or drop off in person at your local election Absentee Ballot dropbox site. Ballot tabulation may begin as early as Tuesday, October 20. This day is also the target date for the U.S. Senate to begin Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
Tuesday, November 3 - It is estimated that 60 percent of ballots in Georgia will be cast prior to Election Day, but with voter turnout expected to be between 5.5 and 6 million voters, that’s still 2.5-3 million voters ON Election Day, a record number, spread across 2,500+ precincts.
The bombardment and political shelling which we are likely about to experience here in Georgia, as well as other battleground states will be unprecedented.
The biggest issue likely to sway voters is the current confirmation proceedings for potential Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice and nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana. Though Chief Justice John Roberts was confirmed in only 23 days, it was not against the backdrop of a hotly contested presidential election.
In Georgia, where both U.S. Senate seats are up, and the GOP currently holds only a three-seat majority (with 22 GOP incumbents seeking re-election), the Peach State represents 10 percent of the Senate field contests and nearly 2/3 of the stretch goal wins for the Democratic Party, which is seeking to retake majority control of the Senate.
But eventually, we will of course have an outcome. So buckle your seat belts kids, some contents are almost certain to shift in flight, and we may be in for a bit of a bumpy landing. And however things go, you, our state and our country will survive as well as thrive, sooner, or later.