Political Notes — Early voting is off to a fast start

[private]Georgia voters are mailing it in early for the Nov. 8 election, with nearly 150,000 ballots cast as of Monday.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp said 85,228 advance in-person ballots were voted on Monday, the first day of walk-in early voting.

Another 61,823 absentee ballots have been mailed in and there are 106,481 mail-in ballots outstanding, Kemp said. Mail-in ballots began going out on Sept. 20.

“Georgia voters are highly enthusiastic and taking full advantage of unprecedented access to the ballot box to make sure their voice is heard,” Kemp said.

State law requires the polls to be open for early voting Monday through Friday, as well as Saturday, Oct. 29, in all 159 counties. Some counties such as DeKalb and Fulton are also providing for early voting on Saturday, Oct. 22.

It is too early to know if the early voting total will surpass that of the 2008 presidential election, when the presence of Barack Obama on the ballot spurred massive turnout by African American voters.

Nearly two million early ballots — 53 percent of the total — were cast in Georgia in 2008.

Latino polling shows Clinton surge

Hillary Clinton has surged to a 50-point lead over Donald Trump among Latino voters, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll.

The national survey showed Clinton with 67 percent support among likely Latino voters compared to 17 percent for Trump, and 3 percent apiece for Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

In a two-candidate matchup without third-party candidates, Clinton had a 70-17 percent advantage over Trump.

Trump’s support trails the 29 percent of Latino voters who went for Republican Mitt Romney n 2012.

Trump also has high unfavorable numbers with this voting segment. The poll shows that 80 percent of Latino voters view Trump negatively, while only 13 percent view him positively. Clinton is viewed positively by 59 percent of Latino voters, while 28 percent disagree.

The divide among Latino voters could be significant in Georgia, where nearly 120,000 registered voters now self-identify as Latino, and even more so in Florida with its heavy Hispanic population.

Bubba’s OK with Trump

Some Republicans like Sen. Johnny Isakson are doing everything they can to avoid saying the name “Donald Trump” in public, but not Public Service Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald.

McDonald, a lifelong Democrat before switching to run as a Republican in 2008, castigated Republicans who are backing away from Trump in an interview with Christy Riggins of ZPolitics:

“The good book says that, ‘He who is without sin, cast the first stone.’ I would want all those that are criticizing Mr. Trump — which I disagree with what he said — to understand that he’s apologized,” McDonald said. “I’ve said things in the past to people that I’ve apologized for. I’m not without sin. I’m not going to cast that stone.”

McDonald, who was the first statewide elected official to endorse Trump’s candidacy, said that the media has worked to shift focus away from important issues like Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, or- most importantly, in his view- the Supreme Court.

“There are people that are in jail today, young servicemen that have made the mistake of not even close to the magnitude of what she’s done, that were dishonorably discharged and things of that nature. What she has done, she has falsely testified. She has convenient memory loss.”
“They’re two different standards,” he added.

“I think for my grandchildren, I want them to have a better opportunity than I’ve had in my time,” he said. “Unless there’s a proper balance on the Supreme Court, it just won’t happen. It won’t happen for them. They won’t have a chance.”

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Bubba McDonald , Donald Trump , early voting , Hillary Clinton , Latino voters