DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Stories of long lines are far from unheard of in metro Atlanta, but paired with new voting equipment and a pandemic, Georgia has received national criticism for its June 9 election.
Because of COVID-19, about 30 polling places in DeKalb County were moved or combined, creating confusion and long waits for some, even as hundreds of thousands of voters made use of early or absentee voting.
Furthermore, for most poll workers yesterday was the first time operating the state’s new voting machines. A number of sites experienced technical challenges throughout the day. The Superior Court of DeKalb County ordered the extension of voting hours from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. throughout the county, and at one location in Decatur to 10:10 p.m.
In a statement, DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond called the election day malfunctions “an attack on the democratic process” and voter disenfranchisement.
“The Secretary of State’s office has alleged these issues resulted from a failure of county leadership,” Thurmond stated. “If there was a failure of leadership, it starts where the buck should stop, at the top. The eradication of any ‘learning curve’ rests squarely at the feet of the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his office.”
Thurmond called for a comprehensive investigation of voting issues and the Secretary of State’s administration.
Wednesday night, Jon Ossoff declared victory in the Democratic primary to decide who will challenge U.S. Sen. David Perdue this November. With 51 percent of the vote, Ossoff narrowly avoided a runoff with the runner up, former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, who garnered 15 percent.
Former U.S. Rep. Karen Handel beat out four competitors to be the Republican candidate for Georgia’s 6th congressional district, which includes north DeKalb, north Fulton and east Cobb counties. November’s race will be a rematch; Democrat U.S. Rep Lucy McBath ousted Handel from the seat in 2018.
DeKalb County Sheriff
In the DeKalb County Sheriff Special election, to determine who will serve until the end of the year, no candidate received a majority. Appointed incumbent Melody Maddox received the most votes, about 30 percent as of Wednesday morning, and is likely to face Ruth Stringer, who received about 18 percent of the vote, in a runoff.
The runoff would be August 11, 2020. Those wishing to vote in that election would have to register to vote or update their voter registration by July 13.
It is a similar story in the Democratic primary to determine who will run for a full term this November. Maddox and Stringer were once again the two highest vote earners. Only one candidate ran on the Republican ticket, Harold Dennis.
DeKalb Board of Education
Certified public accountant Anna Hill won 66 percent of the vote against Andrew Ziffer to represent District 1, which includes Dunwoody, on the DeKalb County Board of Education.
DeKalb Board of Commissioners
For District 1, Commissioner Nancy Jester was unopposed on the Republican ticket. No Democrat has received a majority. Cynthia Yaxon was the highest vote earner with 43 percent of the vote, according to early reporting, followed by M.D. Naser at 24 percent. Robert Patrick and Ben Truman will not advance to the runoff, according to preliminary results.
For District 6, a super district that covers the western half of the county, Maryan Ahmad won 44 percent of the vote, followed by Ted Terry. Emily Halevy will not advance to the runoff.
DeKalb Tax Commissioner
Incumbent Irvin Johnson will hold onto his seat, garnering 64 percent of the vote against social worker Roslyn McCaskill.