Tuck Tucker, President of Tucker Castleberry

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Georgia’s New Election Law

Below is a breakdown of the new law that cost Georgia the MLB 2021 All Star Game:

Changes to absentee voting

Mail-in absentee voting will look the most different for voters, especially after 1.3 million people used that method in the November general election. Voters over 65, with a disability, in the military or who live overseas will still be able to apply once for a ballot and automatically receive one the rest of an election cycle. But the earliest voters can request a mail-in ballot will be 11 weeks before an election instead of 180 days — less than half as much time.

The final deadline to complete an application is moved earlier, too. Instead of returning an application by the Friday before election day, SB 202 now backs it up to two Fridays before. Republican sponsors of the bill and local elections officials say this will cut down on the number of ballots rejected for coming in late because of the tight turnaround.

Counties will also begin mailing out absentee ballots about three weeks later than before, starting four weeks before the election.

Requesting and returning a ballot will also require new ID rules: either your driver’s license number, state ID number or, if you don’t have those, a copy of acceptable voter ID. The law also allows for applications to be returned online, after the Secretary of State’s office launched an online request portal using your driver’s license number or state ID number ahead of November’s general election.

Poll workers will use that information, plus your name, date of birth and address, to verify your identity, and you will sign an oath swearing that everything is correct. This is a change from recent procedure that would check your signature on the application with those on file.

State and local governments are no longer allowed to send unsolicited applications, and third-party groups that send applications have new rules to follow, too. Their applications must be clearly marked as being “NOT an official government publication” that it is “NOT a ballot,” and must clearly state which group is sending the blank request.

Plus, third-party groups are only allowed to send applications to voters who have not already requested or voted an absentee ballot. The groups potentially face a penalty for each duplicate sent.

The actual absentee ballot and envelopes will look different, as well. SB 202 requires absentee ballots to be printed on special security paper, and your precinct name will now be included along with precinct ID printed at the top. Once you fill out your choices by filling in the circles for your choices, you will place it in an envelope that will have your name, signature, driver’s license or state ID number (or last four digits of your Social Security number) and date of birth. The envelope will be designed so that sensitive personal information will be hidden once it is sealed.

Military and overseas voters will have an additional set of absentee ballots mailed to them with their regular ballots — ranked choice instant-runoff ballots. Georgia’s runoffs will now be four weeks long instead of nine weeks, but federal law requires ballots to those voters be sent out by 45 days before a federal election. So now, those voters will be given these ranked choice ballots, where they rank their choices for certain races in the event they head to a runoff, and send them back with their primary or general election ballots. 

Secure absentee ballot drop boxes — which did not exist a year ago — are now officially part of state law, but not without some new changes. The law now requires all 159 counties to have at least one drop box, caps the number of boxes at one per 100,000 active voters or one for every early voting site (whichever is smaller) and moves them inside early voting sites instead of outside on government property. Additionally, the drop boxes will only be accessible during early voting days and hours instead of 24/7.

The State Election Board authorized drop boxes using the emergency rule process because of the coronavirus pandemic, and even that process is now being tweaked. The board must provide more notice of proposed emergency rules and has a much more limited scope in which it can enact those rules.

Changes to early voting

One of the biggest changes in the bill would expand early voting access for most counties, adding an additional mandatory Saturday and formally codifying Sunday voting hours as optional. Counties can have early voting open as long as 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at minimum. If you live in a larger metropolitan county, you might not notice a change. For most other counties, you will have an extra weekend day, and your weekday early voting hours will likely be longer.

If you live in Fulton County, you’ll no longer be able to use one of two mobile voting buses the county purchased last year to help with long lines. While a 2019 omnibus allowed early voting sites to be more locations, including places that are normally election day polls, the Republican-led legislature has now written laws that expressly prohibits a mobile poll except during an emergency declared by the governor.

For polling place changes or closures, the law now requires better notice of those changes, including a 4-by-4-foot sign that shows where the new location is.

Another new rule that affects both in-person early voting and election day voting would prohibit anyone except poll workers from handing out water to voters in line, and outlaw passing out food and water to voters within 150 feet of the building that serves as a poll, inside a polling place or within 25 feet of any voter standing in line. Depending on the location, it is still possible for third-party groups to have food and water available  — and it is possible for the lines to extend beyond 150 feet.

During early voting, counties must publicly report daily how many people have voted in person, how many absentee ballots have been issued, returned, accepted and rejected. Early voting sites and times must be published publicly ahead of time.

For runoffs, things would be tighter: the law says early voting should start “as soon as possible” after a primary or general election, and requires in-person early voting the Monday through Friday before the election. This means counties may not be able to offer weekend early voting depending on how quickly it takes them to finish the first election and prepare for the second.

Changes to vote counting

Among complaints about the 2020 election was how long it took for some counties to release their final vote totals, how others missed batches of ballots the first time and general confusion about why the process is not over on election night.

A change local officials embrace is a section that allows them to begin processing, but not tabulating, absentee ballots starting two weeks before the election. There’s extra incentive to do so, by way of a new requirement that counties count all of the ballots nonstop as soon as polls close and finish by 5 p.m. the next day or potentially face investigation.

Plus, local officials are required to post and report the total number of ballots cast on election day, during early voting, via absentee voting and provisional ballots, all by 10:00 p.m. on election night, essentially providing the public with a denominator to understand the total possible votes out there as results trickle in.

Speaking of provisional ballots, out-of-precinct provisionals will not count anymore unless cast after 5 p.m. and a voter signs a statement saying they could not make it to their home precinct in time.

Now that counties must finish tabulating all the votes by 5 p.m. the day after the election, lawmakers moved up their election certification deadline to six days after polls close instead of 10.

Absentee ballots will be checked using the ID information voters write on the outside envelopes instead of their signatures, another departure from previous policy.

Changes affecting local elections offices

One change buried in the bill would give county elections officials greater flexibility with voting equipment for smaller, lower-turnout races. Previous law requires one ballot-marking device per every 250 active voters. Statewide general elections would still require that ratio, but any other election would be subject to the local elections officials’ discretion, based on expected turnout, the type of election, number of people that have already voted and more.

Counties will also have to provide better notice of public logic and accuracy testing of voting machines and equipment, where officials calibrate every piece of technology used in the election. The dates and times should be on the county’s website, if they have one, a local newspaper and in a prominent place within the county. Plus, the secretary of state’s office must keep a master list and make it public.

In the 2020 election, many rural and urban counties received grant funding from philanthropic outlets such as the Center for Tech and Civic Life and the Schwarzenegger Institute. Under the new law, those elections offices could no longer directly receive funding. But the State Election Board is slated to propose a method to receive donations and distribute them equitably by October 2021.

Another change that was proposed last year and is now law would require large polling places with long lines to take action if wait times surpass an hour at certain times during the day. Those massive polls with more than 2,000 voters and wait times longer than an hour would have to hire more staff, add more workers or split up the precinct after that election. More than 1,500 of Georgia’s precincts have over 2,000 voters.

After the 2020 election cycle saw an influx of partisan poll watchers who sometimes interfered with vote counting, the GOP-backed bill requires poll watchers be trained before allowing them to work, and gives local officials the authority to set where those watchers can observe from.

Poll workers, in short supply for the June 2020 primary because of the pandemic, may now serve in adjoining counties.

Scanned ballot images will now be subject to public records disclosures, and the secretary of state’s office shall create a pilot program for posting those images online as well.

Changes affecting the State Election Board

While most Georgians don’t directly interact with the State Election Board, several changes made by the Republican legislature could have an impact on local elections offices.

The secretary of state will no longer chair the State Election Board, becoming instead a non-voting ex-officio member. The new chair would be nonpartisan but appointed by a majority of the state House and Senate. The chair would not be allowed to have been a candidate, participate in a political party organization or campaign or made campaign contributions for two years prior to being appointed.

The law also says the governor should appoint someone if the position becomes vacant when lawmakers are not in session. 

Other changes to the State Election Board’s powers would give the board — and by extension, the legislature — more power to intervene in county elections boards that are deemed underperforming. In addition to the legislature-appointed chair, the five-member board is made up of one member appointed by the House, one appointed by the Senate and one each picked by the Democratic and Republican state parties.

The State Election Board, county commissions or a certain number of state House and Senate members that represent a county could request an independent group to conduct a performance review of their appointed elections board or probate judge that supervises elections, defined in Georgia law as the “superintendent.” SB 202 would allow the State Election Board to suspend the multi-person elections board or probate judge and replace them with a single individual for at least nine months.

The election superintendent is responsible for everything from certifying results, handling polling place changes and hearing challenges to voters’ eligibilities — something that SB 202 clarifies that must be heard in a timely manner after being filed and can include an unlimited number of challenges. 

The board could only temporarily suspend up to four election superintendents at a time.
 

Other changes

There are other more intangible changes that will not directly impact how you vote. For example, the law says the Attorney General’s office shall have the authority to set up a hotline for people to file complaints about voter intimidation and “illegal election activities,” including anonymous tips. That section also says the AG’s office shall have the authority to review the complaints within three business days (or as “expeditiously as possible”) and determine if the complaint should be investigated.

The State Election Board and secretary of state’s office would not be allowed to enter into any settlement agreements for election lawsuits without notifying lawmakers first. New language for certain judicial vacancies or candidates who die before election day has been added and the legislature has reiterated the state should be part of a multi-state voter registration database.

In addition to the shortening of the runoff period, SB 202 would end so-called “jungle primary” special elections, requiring a special primary before a special election.

Because of the delays in the 2020 census, the law also allows some of the municipal boundary line redrawing to wait until after upcoming elections.

Please tell me where we are guilty of voter suppression?

A Trend for the Printing Industry in 2018

Predictive analytics will come to the forefront. Big data is nothing new to the print industry – manufacturers, channel partners and Independent Software Vendors have long used data to support proactive service and maintenance to drive efficiency for customers. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Expect to see leading vendors better apply predictive analytics, using a range of techniques including data mining, modelling and artificial intelligence, to their products and services.

Data service providers have hundreds of attributes about businesses and households. Based on the goals, we select the attributes to append to client records. The results lead to augmented records…ones that are far more valuable than just name and addresses. This then leads to a much greater response rate for direct mail marketing.

Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.[1] It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.

Annual Decoration Days for particular cemeteries are held on a Sunday in late spring or early summer in some rural areas of the American South, notably in the mountain areas. In cases involving a family graveyard where remote ancestors as well as those who were deceased more recently are buried, this may take on the character of an extended family reunion to which some people travel hundreds of miles. People gather on the designated day and put flowers on graves and renew contacts with relatives and others. There often is a religious service and a picnic-like “dinner on the ground,” the traditional term for a potluckmeal in which people used to spread the dishes out on sheets or tablecloths on the grass. It is believed that this practice began before the American Civil War and thus may reflect the real origin of the “memorial day” idea.

Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.

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What is a father ?

I wrote this the night before my father’s funeral in the year 2000 and read it at his graveside service. It really brings back wonderful memories of my father.

 

 

What is a Father ?

            A father is the person who loves you the most, that is of course not counting your mother. A father is the person who you love the most, once again of course not counting your mother.

A father is the happiest when he finally gets his first son, although his daughter is closest to his heart. He even makes the doctor hold you upside down to make sure that you are really a boy…he is so excited! He’s that guy that buys you your first football and baseball mitt, even though you are only 4 days old.

He’s the guy that builds you up and finally tells you are old enough to finally cut the grass, knowing he’ll never have to cut it again himself. He is the guy that times how fast you run down the driveway and back to get the mail and tells you how many seconds it took and that you broke your old record…although he didn’t even have his watch on.

He’s the guy that picks you up at your first baseball practice and tells you how terrific you looked on the field although you had your glove on the wrong hand. He’s the guy that convinces your mother that you and he would be better off going to a baseball game together than going to your sister’s ballet recital. He’s the guy that goes to work at sun up and comes home late in the day exhausted…only to find you waiting for him by the mailbox with two baseball mitts and a ball in hand…and he tells you he hurried home just so he could play catch with you.

Your father is the one that spent millions on your private school education only hoping that they wouldn’t expel you for something you’ve done stupid before you could graduate. He’s the guy that gives you your first car…and hopes you don’t kill yourself in it. He’s the one that pretends not to see you when your friends let you out at the bottom of the driveway after having 20 beers…and you are only 18.

He’s the one who spends another million on your college education and hopes you don’t sell your books for beer money before exams. He’s the one who prays for you every night…that you graduate in 4 years.

He’s the guy who gives you a job in the summer and on the way home together doesn’t ask, “How was your day”. He knows that 20-minute power nap you are getting is more important because you have a date that night. He’s the guy who is happiest when you finally move out of the house, and he hugs your mother as you drive out of the driveway…and she is crying.

He’s the best man in your wedding…and maybe the proudest that day. He gives you all the great “fatherly advice”…why, because his father had given it to him and now it’s your turn. He’s the guy that loans you enough money to get your first home…then he tells you later that you don’t have to pay him back.

A father is the person who is always there for you, either rain or shine. But he realizes you have your own life now, but wants to be as much a part of it as you will let him.

Your father has always been the biggest, bravest and toughest person you have known…until he starts to get old…and frail. Then YOU realize that you are now the tough one and he is not. A father is the person who watches out for you as long as he can…no matter what, for 60 or 70 years. And then it finally comes to you…it’s time for you to watch out for him…for the rest of his life…no matter what.

 

My kids…10 years ago

At Ma Ruby’s Restaurant (Home of the “Cheeseburger in Paradise”)…Harbour Island, Bahamas !!

The kids

A Special Day is coming

A lot of interesting things have happened over the years on December 20th:

1780 – Britain declares war on Holland.
1812 – “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm is published.
1820 – Missouri imposes a $1 bachelor tax on unmarried men between 21 & 50.
1879 – Tom Edison privately demonstrated incandescent light at Menlo Park.
1892 – Phileas Fogg completes around world trip.
1920 – Bob Hope becomes an American citizen.
1957 – Elvis Presley given draft notice to join US Army for National Service.

But the greatest event will happen on “this” December 20, 2014…my beautiful daughter Mallory is getting married. This will by far be the greatest and most special day in my life !!!

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My grandson’s memoir

My grandson who is in the 5th grade was given a writing assignment…to write a memoir.  Here is what he wrote:

The Red Pickup Truck

The day my dad came home from my grandparent’s house was one of the happiest days of my life. He was driving my granddad’s 26 year old red pickup truck. That was four years ago, and since then, Dad and I drive it to every football and baseball practice and game I’ve played in since then. It’s my favorite car, and I ride in it every chance I get. My dad says that the air conditioning stopped working fifteen years ago, so we have to roll the windows down with the manual handle thingies. I know what you’re thinking. How can you still drive the truck after thirty years? Since my dad and his dad, Tuck, only drove it to and from football and baseball, it only has 39,000 miles!

I was sitting in the truck after football one day, and I sat on the seat back in the truck. It flopped over, and I found all kinds of “treasure” back there. I found a rusty, weathered baseball bat with no grip, a bunch of new baseballs, a popped football, a daddy longlegs, and lots and lots of dirt. I asked, “Dad, what is all this stuff doing back here?” “I was waiting for you to find that,” He replied.

But my favorite part of riding in the truck is my dad. We tell each other things that only I know or he knows, and that conversation never leaves the truck, unless the person who said the secret wants it to. We have fun talking about sports and other stuff. In football season, we talk football. In baseball season we talk baseball. We almost always know the stats, but sometimes we have to look them up. I love riding in the truck during the rain, but my dad doesn’t. I love it because the windshield wipers don’t work very well, so it looks like someone put a shower door where our windshield should be. Which is the exact reason my dad doesn’t like driving the truck in the rain. My dad and I love looking at other people’s reactions to seeing a thirty year old truck driving around Chastain Park full of tackling dummies or baseball equipment.

Many times people have asked us if the truck was for sale, and many times have we said no. If we ever go out to eat with teammates after practice, they have a war about who gets to ride in the truck with us. Everyone says I’m so lucky to have the truck to ride in to and from every practice. Every now and then, Maggie (my sister) rides in the truck with us, and she makes us listen to this song she says she loves. (I don’t actually think she likes it, I think she’s just trying to annoy me.) She rides in truck to softball, and she loves it almost as much as me. I love it more, though. She has a hard time rolling down the windows with the crank thing. I know how she feels, because I also wasn’t able to roll down those windows when I was her age.

I think that riding in the truck has taught me a lesson: any time spent with family members is time well spent.

Today is “Brothers Day”

IMG_1443Image_00438Image_00253IMG_1265 Brother’s Day celebrates the bond between brothers – an amazing gift and should be cherished. Take this day to make contact with your brother and tell him how much he means to you. Why not arrange to take your brother out for a meal and discuss your family memories?

Brother’s Day should not be confused with Wright Brothers Day, which is observed in the USA in December to celebrate the iconic brothers who worked together to create the first heavier than air flying machine. This example of successful brotherhood shows just how amazing the brotherly connection can be.

Brothers Day

Happy “Pig in a Blanket” Day … April 24

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Olympics are coming….

Sochi facts…

  1. Russia, the largest country in the world, occupies one-tenth of all the land on Earth. It spans 11 time zones across two continents (Europe and Asia) and has coasts on three oceans (the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic). It is almost twice as big as Canada.
  2. It has the deepest lake in the world, Lake Baikal (1,700 m or 5,577 ft) in Siberia and it contains more water than any other lake on earth. Amazing when you compare that to Denver, the “Mile High City” at 5,280 feet. Russia has about 100,000 rivers, including some of the longest and most powerful in the world.sochimap
  3. The national animal is the brown bear.  The most famous animal species is the Siberian tiger, the largest cat in the world that is indigenous to the forests of eastern Russia.
  4. Greater Sochi has a population of 400,000 and stretches 90 miles along the Black Sea, making it the second longest city in the world behind only Mexico City.
  5. Sochi is on the same latitude with Toronto, Nice and the Gobi Desert.
  6. Sochi is a resort town that is known as the Russian Riviera. Sochi’s climate is subtropical, making it the warmest city to host an Olympic Winter Games and temperatures hover around 50 degrees in the winter. Sochi has been stockpiling snow and  a Michigan-based company designed and operates the snow-making system called the Super Pole Cat. This fully automated fan, pump and water-spraying unit up on a pole towers over the mountainside.
  7. The outdoor alpine events will be held in the northern Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and the area averages 5 degrees in the winter.  The town of Krasnaya Polyana (in the Caucasus Mountains) will host the events requiring snow. It is located 40 km away from Sochi.
  8. Twelve winter sports events will be making their Olympic debuts in Sochi, making the 2014 Games the biggest in history. The new events include a figure skating team event, women’s ski jumping, mixed relay biathlon, ski halfpipe (men’s and women’s), team relay luge, ski slope style (men’s and women’s), snowboard slope style (men’s and women’s), and snowboard parallel slalom (men’s and women’s). That makes for a total of 98 events in 15 winter sports (versus 86 events in Vancouver).
  9. There are three mascots for these Olympics, as voted by the Russian people: a polar bear, hare, and leopard.
  10. There will be 6,000 athletes from 85 countries (plus 1,650 Paralympians from 45 countries)

 

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