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Morning headlines: Absentee ballot requests open today

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Monday is the first day you can request an absentee ballot for the November 8 election.

In the wake of changes to voting laws in Georgia, getting an absentee ballot will look a little different this year, starting with the application.

  • You must include your voter identification information this time: that means the number on your driver's license or free state ID.
  • Also included are lines for your email and phone number so your local officials can contact you with any questions.
  • Once your application is accepted, be patient! Ballots won't start being mailed out to you until Monday, October 10.

But be sure to act sooner than later: The last day you can request a ballot is October 28, and it must be received by the elections office before polls close at 7PM on Election Day.
Federal court okays Kemp's Medicaid plan

Georgia’s governor and the federal government have been in a standoff over the state’s health care plans, since Governor Brian Kemp’s waiver proposals to partially expand Medicaid have been blocked by the Biden administration. Now, a federal judge has weighed in.

Georgia is one of a handful of remaining states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Full expansion would provide insurance coverage to an estimated 500,000 Georgians.

Instead, Kemp offered his own waiver plan that would cover around 50,000 people, provided they met certain criteria – including a work requirement.

After initial approval by the Trump administration, the Biden administration blocked Kemp’s plan, criticizing the work requirement as an unnecessary burden.

A federal judge ruled Friday that Biden was wrong to press pause on Kemp’s plan, opening the door for the partial expansion program to be implemented.

PSC elections won't be held in November

Elections for two Georgia Public Service Commission seats will not be held in November.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta erred in its decision last week to allow November's vote to go forward after a lower court judge ruled statewide elections for PSC members discriminate against Black voters.

The high court said the appeals court should review the case through the lens of a different legal framework and reconsider whether a stay, which would allow this fall’s elections to continue as planned, is appropriate.

On Friday\, the state withdrew its motions for an emergency stay. For now, PSC Vice-Chairman Tim Echols and Commissioner Fitz Johnson will continue to serve until elections can be called for their seats, which could push into next year.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs were pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling saying its a step toward ensuring that elections are not held using a method that unlawfully dilutes the votes of millions of Black citizens in Georgia.

Graham gets favorable ruling in federal court; may not have to testify in Fulton County election probe

A federal appeals court on Sunday agreed to temporarily put on hold a lower court’s order requiring that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) testify before a special grand jury investigating possible illegal efforts to overturn then-President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss in Georgia.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May denied Graham’s request to quash his subpoena. Graham’s lawyers then appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Sunday, a three-judge panel of the appeals court temporarily paused May’s order and sent the case back to May to decide whether the subpoena should be partially quashed or modified because of protections granted to members of Congress by the U.S. Constitution.

Advocates renew push for flavored vape ban

As students head back to school, health and education advocates worry about an increase in e-cigarette use, or vaping.

"Many kids don't realize that these products are not safe and that they are addictive," said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

Myers said the Food and Drug Administration has the authority to ban the sale of flavored E cigarettes that appeal to kids, but the FDA has consistently missed the deadline to act.

According to a recent government survey, over 2,000,000 middle and high school students vape.

Stephen Fowler is the Producer/Back-Up Host for All Things Considered and a creative storyteller hailing from McDonough, Georgia. He graduated from Emory University with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. The program combined the best parts of journalism, marketing, digital media and music into a thesis on the rise of the internet rapper via the intersectionality of social media and hip-hop. He served as the first-ever Executive Digital Editor of The Emory Wheel, where he helped lead the paper into a modern digital era.
Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.
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