The Fannin County Democrats (FCDP) had a very productive January meeting, held at the Fannin County Senior Center on Monday, January 6th at 6:15 pm. There were nearly 30 in attendance, including several that hadn’t visited in quite some time. All seemed ready to get to work in 2020 to turn Georgia blue. Here are a few of the highlights of this meeting:
Cynthia Maude, Fannin County Board of Elections member, provided some detail regarding the new voting machines and reported that Fannin County’s allotment of these units (a total of 80) were scheduled for delivery the next day. She also reminded everyone that if they were interested in testing the machines, one is set up in the Board of Elections office, located on the 3rd floor of the courthouse. Finally, Cynthia indicated that there is a need for poll workers to assist during the upcoming Presidential Primary (scheduled for Tuesday, March 24th), the General Primary (scheduled for Tuesday, May 19th), and of course, the General Election in November.
Update: I visited the Board of Elections this afternoon and obtained some additional information on this topic. According to Mary Ann Conner, Vice-Chair of the Board of Elections, while they already have approximately 60 people lined up for the poll worker positions, they’re in need of about 25 to 40 more for the county. Mary Ann indicated that separate trainings will be provided for the Presidential Primary, GA General Primary, and General Election (no additional training will be required, in the event that run-off elections may be necessary). Training sessions are estimated to last 3-4 hours, and workers will be paid $30 for attending each session. On election day, Assistant Managers and Poll Clerks will be paid $150 for the entire day, while Managers will receive $170 for the day. Workers will be expected to arrive at around 6 am, since polls open at 7 am, and will be required to stay for the duration of the day, which could last until 9 or 10 pm (approximately 14-15 hours). In most cases, they will make every effort to assign you to your own voting precinct, but in the event that facility is not available, they will assign you to the next closest precinct. If you’re interested in this opportunity, please contact Mary Ann Conner or Chuck Cook at the Fannin County Board of Elections at 706-632-7740 for more information and details on applying.
The Fannin County Family Connection (FCFC) has reported a critical need for donations of non-perishable food items to be added to their food pantry. As a result, the Fannin County Democrats will now begin collecting donations of these items at each of our monthly meetings, so please consider bringing a few items with you each month. Vicki Smith has kindly offered to make the monthly delivery to the FAFC on behalf of our group, and we’re grateful to her for doing so. Vicki also indicated that they reported a need for clean (and in good condition) blankets to be distributed to families during these winter months. While we will gladly accept donations of these blankets at our February meeting, if you’d like to drop them off at the Family Connection sooner, their address is: 101 Fannin Industrial Park, Blue Ridge, GA. To learn more about this group and the services they offer, please visit their website by clicking here.
A brief report from Kathy Smyth, Vice-President of the Fannin County Democratic Women’s (FCDW) group was provided. Their meetings are always scheduled on the fourth Saturday of the month at 10 am at the Fannin County Senior Center, so this month’s meeting will be held on January 25th. All women are welcome to attend, and annual dues of $25 will be collected at this meeting in order to be a voting member of the group. If you’d like to learn more about this group, please visit their page on the FCDP website by clicking here.
We all congratulated Vicki Smith on being this month’s Democrat of the Month for her commitment to our group in a variety of areas. In addition to championing the effort of collecting and delivering the donations to the FCFC, she has also coordinated with the Fannin County Commissioner’s office to secure the Senior Center for each of the 2020 FCDP monthly meetings on the first Monday of the month, as well as the 2020 monthly meetings of the FCDW on the fourth Saturday of each month. And if that weren’t enough, Vicki demonstrates her passion for registering voters at the many voter registration drives she has conducted and will be conducting during this year. Thank you, Vicki! We think you’re pretty awesome!
The Georgia voter purge scheduled for December 2019 resulted in nearly 300,000 voters being removed from the GA Voter registry. Of this group, nearly 900 voters were identified as being residents of Fannin County. Thanks to a wonderful group of volunteers within the FCDP and FCDW, we were able to contact many of the Fannin voters to notify them of the Secretary of State’s desire to purge them from the rolls. According to the Fannin County Board of Elections, 46 Fannin residents responded prior to the deadline and were not removed from the registry at the time of the purge. The FCDP believes it's important to remain vigilant about checking your voter registration status so as not to encounter a surprise on election day. To do that, please click here and follow the directions that will walk you through the MyVoterPage of the Secretary of State's website.
The group also discussed the development of talking points surrounding certain topics including: immigration, healthcare, climate change, and the economy. Our plan is to develop consistent, positive messaging when speaking with others about these subjects and we will be conducting breakout sessions at next month’s meeting to begin working on this effort. If you have suggestions regarding any of these items, please jot them down and be prepared to present at the next meeting.
Goals for 2020 were discussed as follows:
Find candidates to run for remaining 2 School Board seats, Sheriff, County Clerk, Tax Commissioner, County Commission Chair, and 2 judges, prior to qualification period in early March. If interested in running (or know someone that is), please contact Susan DeMoura (email@example.com) or Cynthia Maude (firstname.lastname@example.org) and they will be glad to provide all necessary information and support. And if you’d like to become a member of the Candidate Recruitment and Support Committee, please email Susan DeMoura.
Raise $15,000 to support our local, district and state candidates and increase our image through marketing and advertising.
During this portion of the meeting, it was noted that we will be collecting donations for the annual FCDP/FCDW yard sale at the February meetings for both groups. Please bring your items to either the FCDP or FCDW meeting and we will organize and store them until the sale in October. As a reminder, these items should be clean and in good working condition (but please, no clothing or shoes) and items that sell well are in the categories of Christmas/holiday, kitchen/dishware, home décor, and outdoor (including hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, etc.).
We have FCDP shirts and decals for sale in our online shop, which is located by clicking here.
The group was also reminded that we have a very easy way for everyone to participate in fundraising for our group, via our ActBlue account. This feature allows for one-time donations as well as monthly recurring donations and makes it very easy to contribute to the cause! If interested in making a donation to the Fannin County Democrats, please consider doing so by visiting our ActBlue account by clicking here. Let’s use our green to turn Georgia blue! And if you’re interested in being a member of the Fundraising Committee, please contact Doug DeMoura at email@example.com.
Increase membership through marketing, positive messaging and community involvement. Because this is such a crucial year, we need all committed Democrats on deck to lend a hand and fight the good fight. The Outreach/Social Image group will be reconvening soon to begin discussing some ideas to attract new members (with a special emphasis on the younger, more diverse residents of the county).
One of the ideas discussed during this segment of the meeting was the creation of an internet radio station that would offer a counter-message to the many conservative stations/shows that are broadcast in this area.
Another possible consideration that would assist in spreading our message in the hopes of increasing membership was the creation of a weekly podcast that emphasizes rural Georgia and how Democrats have a better handle on the needs of the residents in this area.
If you’d like to become involved with the Outreach/Social Image Committee (or have any information on internet radio stations or podcasting), please contact Susan DeMoura at firstname.lastname@example.org. And even if you don’t wish to be part of this committee, please consider attending the monthly meetings and bringing a friend! We need YOU!
Locate a space for FCDP 2020 Campaign Headquarters. We are in need of a small storefront that’s located near the downtown area, for a period of no more than 3-4 months prior to the November election. This space will be used to house campaign material for all of the local, district, state and presidential candidates, act as a meeting place for our candidates to hold town hall events/meet & greets, and will be a resource for residents to learn more about us. If you know of a space that might work, please email us at email@example.com and the FCDP Committee will investigate. Obviously, the cost of rent and utilities will play a key factor in our decision-making process, and we hope to limit this as much as possible.
The next meeting of the Fannin County Democrats is scheduled for February 3rd at 6:15 at the Fannin County Senior Center. We hope to see you there….and bring a friend! And please don’t forget your yard sale and food pantry donations!