Nearly 200,000 people turned out for early voting, the federal government is providing funding for electric buses in Georgia, and Sen. Jon Ossoff is pushing for justice in the unsolved murder cases of lynching victims.

GA Today Podcast


Peter Biello: Welcome to the new Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Monday, Nov. 28. I'm Peter Biello. We're so excited to launch this podcast. It's a great opportunity for you to get caught up on the top stories in our state. Coming up on today's episode, as Georgians head to the polls in big numbers during the first week of early voting, a nonpartisan group asks Georgians to consider ditching runoffs. The federal government provides funds for some school districts to transition to electric busses. And Sen. Jon Ossoff pushes for justice in the unsolved murder cases of lynching victims. These stories and more are coming up on Georgia Today.


Story 1

Early voting in the U.S. Senate runoff election between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker began in several Georgia counties over the weekend with a patchwork of start dates and times statewide. Early voting for all 159 counties began today and ends Friday, Dec. 2, with the runoff election day on Tuesday, Dec. 6. Gabriel Sterling from the Georgia secretary of state's office said that weekend turnout totaled nearly 200,000. Lines varied by county; people in some densely populated areas waited 2 hours or more on Saturday and Sunday. Georgia's requirement for a runoff if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote makes it an outlier among states. A new ad from a nonpartisan group asks Georgians to ditch runoffs altogether. For a look at why, we turn to GPB's Stephen Fowler.

Stephen Fowler: The ad is a scene that's likely playing out in living rooms all across Georgia: holiday cheer interrupted by nasty attack ads for yet another runoff.

Speaker 3: He's lied about who he really is.

Speaker 4: He fights to keep your gas prices higher than they've —

Speaker 5: This should have been over by now.

Speaker 4: There has to be a better way.

Speaker 3: Instant runoff voting would end the attack ads on Election Day. If you are tired of seeing political ads during the holiday season —

Stephen Fowler: The group behind the spot, Better Ballot Georgia, is lobbying Georgia to consider instant runoff voting. Instead of a costly second election with lower turnout, there would be a single election where voters ranked their choices and a winner is declared by adding in the second choice for the last place candidate and so on, until someone gets a majority. That would require legislative change. That session starts in January. For GPB News, I'm Steven Fowler.


Story 2

Peter Biello: Georgia House Speaker David Ralston is being remembered as a powerful politician whose care for others transcended partizan boundaries. Hundreds gathered yesterday in the Republican's home town of Blue Ridge for his funeral. Among those who eulogized Ralston: former Gov. Nathan Deal, who called Ralston a leader and a reliable friend. Ralston was buried in a private ceremony in nearby Ellijay. Ralston was a lawyer who became Georgia's second most powerful government official during his 13 years as speaker. He died on Nov. 16 at the age of 68.


Story 3

American history, particularly in the South, is marred by a brutal legacy of violence against Black men and women, particularly during the civil rights era. Many were lynched by white mobs. Now, one of Georgia's senators is pushing for justice in those unsolved murder cases. GPB News' Riley Bunch has more.

Riley Bunch: Georgia has numerous unsolved lynching cases like the story of Caleb Hill Jr. He was shot by a mob after being taken from the Wilkinson County Jail one night in May of 1949. A bill now on its way to President Joe Biden's desk aims at helping find justice for lynching victims like Hill championed by U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff and extends the work of the Civil Code Case Review Board to give members more time to conduct investigations. Ossoff says victims' families, too, deserve peace.

Senator Jon Ossoff: I think it's important for us to reflect on the fact that this is not that long ago. There are surviving loved ones, relatives, friends of those who were killed in some of the most brutal and heinous ways.

Riley Bunch: Biden is expected to sign it into law in the coming weeks. For GPB News, I'm Riley Bunch.


Story 4

Peter Biello: The Macon Bibb County Hospital Authority wants its local government to start sharing local property tax collections to help pay for indigent care. The authority oversees Atrium Health Navicent, the largest hospital in Middle Georgia and one of four top level trauma centers in the state. If the Macon Bibb County Commission approves the request, the county would become at least the 14th statewide to use property taxes to pay for hospital care or physical improvements. That's according to the State Revenue Department and Associated Press reporting. Bibb County helped pay for indigent care for decades, but cut off funding in 2018 amid budget troubles.


Story 5

A handful of school districts around the state will transition at least some of their bus fleet to electric busses, thanks to money from the federal government. GPB's Grant Blankenship has that story.

Grant Blankenship: On the one hand, traditional busses are dirty, bad for the climate and expensive to operate. Over its life, a bus can rack up close to $200,000 in repairs. On the other hand, the upfront cost of cleaner electric vehicles can be too steep for many school districts. Now, the EPA's clean school bus program will pay for 137 electric busses to be spread across 15 Georgia districts, ranging from Atlanta Public Schools to rural Cook County schools in South Georgia. The awards are part of an almost billion-dollar nationwide investment in electric buses from the bipartisan infrastructure bill in 2022. For the dozens of Georgia districts waitlisted for electric buses this year, there are four more years in the program and $4 billion left to apply for. For GPB News, I'm Grant Blankenship in Macon.


Story 6

Peter Biello: And here's a reminder to put in your phone: Traffic in Atlanta is going to be rough on Thursday. Former President Barack Obama is returning to the ATL to support Sen. Warnock at a rally at Pullman Yards on Thursday. Now, if that kind of tip isn't worth subscribing to this podcast for, then I do not know what is. You know, this news gathering thing, it is a two-way street. We appreciate that. You listen to us and now we want to listen to you. If you have questions, comments, concerns, feel free to send an email to Georgia today at That's If you've got something positive to say, too, of course we love to hear that. I don't know about you, but I think there is not enough positivity in the world. So spread some, if you've got it. Thanks for listening to the Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. I'm Peter Biello. I'll see you tomorrow.