The city of Jackson will host its annual Veterans Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov 7 at the Veterans Park, 300 E Third Street. However, this year’s event will be limited both in content and physical arrangements due to the impact of the novel COVID-19 pandemic.
Reserved, socially distanced seating will be provided for families who purchased new plaques this year. Limited, additional socially distanced seating will be provided. Everyone is requested to wear a mask. Masks will be available for those who do not have their own. Everyone is asked to cooperate as the Jackson continues to practice all protocols recommended by the CDC to keep our citizens, guests and city staff safe.
Jackson is honored to have Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Adams as the keynote speaker. LTC Adams has an extensive military career beginning in September of 1992 and continuing today. His highly decorated career includes assignments in Guantanamo Bay supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, FEMA Region Four Homeland Response Force and his current assignment as Domestic Operations with the Joint Staff of the Georgia National Guard.
Adams is the District Attorney for the Towaliga Judicial Circuit. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors, Crisis Line and Safe House of Central Georgia. He is also a member of the Central Georgia Task Force on Domestic Violence and the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board of Central Georgia. Adams resides in Forsyth with his family.
Dylan Steinfeld with Bugles Across America will perform the National Anthem. Colors will be presented by the Jackson High School NJROTC and the dedication prayer will be led by local veteran, Ret. Chief Vincent Williams.
Kathy Pittman, daughter of Teddy D. Norris, will read the names on the new plaques. New plaques honoring Teddy, and his brother James Norris, will be located side by side on the wall. The brothers are Navy veterans and the sons of Jackson residents, Clyde and Fannie Norris.
This year’s program will honor a total of 21 veterans. At least eight of them, including the Norris brothers, are related: Calvin and Jerry Webb are brothers, William Towles and his son, William Towles Jr., and Roger Bourne and his son-in-law Kenneth Owens.
Veterans being honored are:
♦ Ralph R. Allen
♦ Tommy L. Allen
♦ Johnny Hammond Barnes
♦ Roger I. Bourne
♦ Will Cash
♦ William Neal Hamby Sr.
♦ Jack Hendrix
♦ Lamar C. Hogan
♦ James R. Norris Sr.
♦ Teddy D. Norris
♦ Robert E. Nowlin
♦ Kenneth R. Owens
♦ Russell Lee Price
♦ Paul S. Reamer
♦ Charlton “Big D” Smith Sr.
♦ William M. Towles
♦ William M. Towles Jr.
♦ Calvin L. Webb
♦ Jerry L. Webb
♦ Charles L. Williams
♦ Horace N. Wise
The program will conclude with “Taps” performed by Steinfeld. Jackson invites everyone to its celebration to honor American Veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Our gratitude for our veterans is immeasurable.
While record-breaking numbers of voters heading to the polls early in Georgia and elsewhere in the nation have spawned horror stories of extremely long lines and waits of seven hours or more at some locations, voters in Butts County have had to wait 17 minutes or less to cast their ballots.
“The turnout has been awesome,” said Butts County Elections Director Tina Lunsford. “We have 40 voting units set up, so our longest line was, of course, the first day (on Monday, Oct. 13) in the morning, and the longest anybody waited then was 17 minutes.
“We just planned really good for it,” she added. “We knew there were going to be a lot of people coming out for early voting. We advertised it and spread the work to encourage the turnout, but with social distancing, we didn’t want to have the long lines.”
Through Saturday, Oct. 24, more than 50% of the 17,850 registered voters in Butts County have already cast their ballots. In addition to the regular early voting days, voters were also able to vote on the last two Saturdays, and will be able to vote until 7 p.m each day this week.
“We had Saturday voting on Oct. 17 and Oct. 24, and each day we had more than 400 voters turn out,” Lunsford said. “This week we’re voting until 7 p.m. each night until Friday for people that work every day.”
We’ve voted almost 50% already in the first two weeks,” she added. “So we’re really thrilled about that. We have had 1,812 mail-in ballots that have been returned and we did 6,784 in-person voting early. So we’re closing in on 9,000 ballots cast already between the two.”
Butts County sent out a total of 2,816 mail-in ballots, but 437 of them were cancelled because voters wanted to vote in person. With the 1,812 mail-in ballots already received, that only leaves 536 left to come in by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3.
(U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross issued a preliminary injunction on Aug. 31 ordering that absentee [mail-in] ballots that are postmarked by Election Day and arrive at county election offices by 7 p.m. three business days later be counted. But Georgia appealed and a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 to stay the injunction, meaning absentee ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.)
While many larger counties are expecting the final vote tallies to take several days past Nov. 3 due to the large number of votes being cast, Lunsford said thanks to participating in early scanning, which allowed the mail-in ballots to be scanned in, but not counted, ahead of Election Day, she expects Butts County to have about 98% of the ballots counted on election night.
“The only things we would have left are any provisional ballots, and any absentee by mail that make the deadline,” Lunsford said. “Provisional ballots are anyone who shows up to vote that doesn’t have their photo ID, or they think they registered, but they’re not on the list. Those are considered provisional ballots until we can verify them.”
Early voting ends Friday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m. The Butts County polling location at the administration building, 625 W. Third Street in Jackson, will be open on Election Day, Nov. 3., from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.