Friday Facts: November 13, 2020

It’s Friday! 

Quotes of Note

“Government outlays on antipoverty programs are almost entirely unaffected by which party is in power: It has inexorably risen under Republicans and Democrats alike — from just one-half of 1% of GDP in the early 1960s to 4% of GDP today. Indeed, antipoverty spending has continued to skyrocket at a far faster rate than the population of people with incomes below the poverty line.” – Jeff Jacoby

“The closeness of this election, and the multitude of legal challenges which have followed in its wake, have brought into sharp focus a common, if heretofore unnoticed, phenomenon. Nationwide statistics reveal that an estimated 2% of ballots cast do not register a vote for President for whatever reason, including deliberately choosing no candidate at all or some voter error, such as voting for two candidates or insufficiently marking a ballot.” – U.S. Supreme Court, Bush v. Gore


Elections

Election review: Counties must begin their hand “retally” (not a “recount,” according to the Secretary of State’s Office) of the state’s nearly 5 million ballots in the presidential race by today and finish by midnight Wednesday, state election officials said Thursday. Joe Biden held a 14,000-vote lead over Donald Trump as of Thursday. Source: News reports

Runoffs: The Secretary of State set a date of January 5 for almost all of Georgia’s runoffs. State runoff elections that had been scheduled for December 1 will be delayed to coincide with Georgia’s two U.S. Senate runoff elections on January 5. The Western Judicial Circuit district attorney race, which is a special election, will take place December 1, as state law requires.

Registration: Georgians can check their voter registration and absentee ballot status on the Secretary of State’s “My Voter Page” and request an absentee ballot for the runoff elections here. The deadline to register or update a voter registration is December 7.

New voters: Georgia’s population is expected to grow for the election runoffs. Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is among those to announce plans to move to Georgia to help Democrats win the crucial U.S. Senate runoffs. A Project Veritas exposé cited Minnesota “ballot harvesting” and voters temporarily moving there specifically to influence that state’s election outcome. A November 9 WSB-AM roundtable discussed how residents of other states planned to move to Georgia solely to vote in the January 5 runoffs. Attorney General Chris Carr warns residency is required to vote in Georgia. Source: News reports

Read Kyle Wingfield’s latest column: “The ‘In-Between’ Election, the ‘In-Between’ Year.”


Economy

Removing barriers: Ohio’s Buckeye Institute and Arizona’s Goldwater Institute (sister think tanks to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation) have joined with Americans for Prosperity in an open letter asking Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and legislators to adopt permanent occupational licensing reforms that recognize out-of-state licenses. “By codifying universal recognition of out-of-state licenses held in good standing, Ohio would join ArizonaMissouri and Pennsylvania in opening doors to professionals licensed by other states,” they write. Opportunity knocks for Georgia to do the same.

Jobless claims: The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that claims for first-time unemployment benefits dropped to 709,000 last week, marking the 11th straight week that new jobless claims totaled below 1 million. The expected number of jobless claims had been 731,000; the prior week saw 757,000 initial claims. Most U.S. states reported declines in unadjusted new claims last week, led by Georgia with a drop of more than 14,000 initial claims. Source: Yahoo Finance

Jobs and oil: Joe Biden’s plan to transition away from oil as president could lead to the cancellation or shutdown of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, The Wall Street Journal reports. Biden has already said he plans to rescind a presidential border-crossing permit for the Keystone XL, which would cost thousands of jobs, but he has yet to publicly comment on the Dakota Access pipeline.


Transportation

Repeat rejection: For the second year in a row, Gwinnett County voters rejected a transit referendum that would have imposed a 30-year countywide sales tax dedicated to public transportation and would have extended MARTA rail into the county. Source: Gwinnett Daily Post


Healthcare

Going up: Nationally, the percentage of positive results, outpatient visits and hospitalizations for COVID-19 has increased since September, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest COVIDView report, which ranked Georgia as having the fifth-lowest infection rate among the states (15.3 per 100,000 residents) over the past seven days. COVIDtracking.com, meanwhile, reports that 26.8% of Georgia’s COVID-19-related deaths occurred in long term-care facilities.

COVID-19 status update: As of Thursday afternoon, the Georgia Department of Public Health reports 8,403 COVID-19 deaths and 380,190 confirmed cases in the state since the pandemic’s start. The department updates the information daily at 3 p.m. Visit the website here.


Criminal justice

Digital crime: Cybercrime is flourishing during the COVID-19 public health crisis, according to the FBI. Daily digital crime rose 75% from the start of stay-at-home restrictions until June, and the increasing activity shows no signs of slowing. Three factors contribute to the increase: opportunity as many receive pandemic stimulus funds; vulnerability caused by fear, isolation and confusion surrounding COVID-19, and increased internet use as more people work from home. Source: Ensemble Health Partners


Media

Foundation in the news: WSB-TV quoted Benita Dodd in a news segment on the potential for a nationwide mask mandate. The Rome News-Tribune reported on Kyle Wingfield’s Zoom presentation to the Rome Rotary Club.


Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In November 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “Battle’s Not Over for Taxpayer Bill of Rights.” It noted, “And at the end of the day their money, media and scare tactics poked a hole in Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights [TABOR], but they also failed to put Colorado’s children in debt, in the failure of Referendum D, which would have authorized the state to borrow $2.1 billion.” On November 3, the Independence Institute won a huge victory: TABOR already requires that voters approve tax increases; now voter approval is required for fee increases, too.

Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, Pandemic Pods, Parents’ Response to Fickle Schools,” by Michael B. Horn.

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