Tracking the money behind the failing schools amendment push

Following the money for Amendment 1

ATLANTA - An exclusive poll conducted by Survey USA for 11Alive asked voters how they plan to vote on two of the four constitutional amendments on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Four constitutional amendments are facing Georgia voters in this November's general elections. The survey asked about Amendment 1, the failing schools amendment and judicial qualifications commission abolition.

Amendment 1:

The poll question asked:

Also on the ballot in 2016 in Georgia is the Georgia State Intervention in Failing Public Schools Amendment. If passed, the amendment would allow the state to take over any, quote, chronically failing public schools. If you were filling out your ballot now, would you be ... Certain to vote yes on this amendment? Certain to vote no? Or not certain?

Opposition to the amendment is almost double the support. Fifty-four percent of voters polled said they would vote no. Only 29 percent said they would support the amendment and 18 percent of those polled said they were not certain.

The amendment reads:

"Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance?"

The proposal allows the state to create an "Opportunity School District" in order to assume management, supervision and operation of a failing public school system through increasing community involvement.

More of the amendment's support and opposition, here.

Amendment 3:

The poll question asked:

Also on the ballot is the Replacement of the Judicial Qualifications Commission Amendment. The Judicial Qualifications Commission was created in 1972 to investigate reports of misconduct by any Georgia judge. If passed, this amendment would abolish the current JQC and allow the General Assembly to create a new one. If you were filling out your ballot now, would you be ... Certain to vote yes on this amendment? Certain to vote no? Or not certain?

This amendment could pass on Election Day with majority of decided voters saying they would approve it. Only 23 percent voters polled said they have or would vote no. But, 41 percent of those polled said they were not certain.

It's a proposed constitutional amendment to get rid of an independent watchdog agency: the judicial qualifications commission that polices the state’s judges. If voters approve the referendum, the independent agency will be removed from the constitution and replaced with one that answers to the state legislature.

The amendment reads:

"Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to abolish the existing Judicial Qualifications Commission; require the General Assembly to create and provide by general law for the composition, manner of appointment, and governance of a new Judicial Qualifications Commission, with such commission having the power to discipline, remove, and cause involuntary retirement of judges; require the Judicial Qualifications Commission to have procedures that provide for due process of law and review by the Supreme Court of its advisory opinions; and allow the Judicial Qualifications Commission to be open to the public in some manner?"


That judicial watchdog agency has forced dozens of Georgia judges to resign, including a man who is now a powerful state representative. That representative is former Griffin judge Johnnie Caldwel who was accused of sexually harassing an attorney.

MORE | Disgraced former Ga. judge behind push to abolish judicial watchdog group

11Alive Lead Investigator Brendan Keefe tracked down the records. More, here.

For more information on Amendment 3, click here.

Survey notes:
SurveyUSA interviewed 800 state of GA adults 10/25/16 through 10/27/16. Of the adults interviewed, 683 were registered to vote in Georgia. Of the registered voters, 5% say they "almost always" vote in Presidential elections but will not vote in 2016 because they do not like any of the candidates on the ballot. An offsetting 5% say they "almost never" vote in Presidential elections but will vote in 2016 because they are uniquely drawn to one of the candidates. These so-called "new" voters split; they do not disproportionately favor Trump. Of the registered voters, 593 were determined by SurveyUSA to have already returned a ballot or to be likely to do so before polls close on 11/08/16.
 
This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone (64% of likely voters) were interviewed on their home telephone in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone (36% of likely voters) were shown a questionnaire on the display of their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device. Georgia last voted for a Democrat for President in 1992, when Bill Clinton captured the state's then 13 electoral votes by 1 percentage point over George H. W. Bush. In 2012, Mitt Romney carried Georgia by 8 points. In 2008, John McCain carried Georgia by 7 points. George W. Bush carried Georgia by 17 points in 2004 and by 12 points in 2000.

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