You probably won’t have to break stride if you’re heading to your polling place today. Voting starts at 7 a.m. and lasts in most places until 7 p.m. Polls in the city of Atlanta are open an extra hour.
“The Georgia midterm municipal elections are typically low turnout,” says WSB political analyst Bill Crane. “Most people are simply not aware that in odd numbered years that we have elections.”
There are no major statewide races to be decided. But there are some important mayoral races and ballot initiatives to decide.
Kasim Reed goes for reelection
Kasim Reed is facing challenges from several fronts. But he’s expected to run away with a major victory today.
Four years ago, Reed won by 714 votes. This year things should be very different.
“It’s basically a non-event,” says Crane.
Reed, 44, is known for his strong support of President Barack Obama as well as his working relationship with Republican Gov.Nathan Deal on issues such as transportation and economic development. Last week, Obama endorsed Reed, saying the mayor has earned a second term.
That doesn’t mean Reed has been immune to criticism. Open government advocates have challenged Reed over a plan to use public financing to help support a new Atlanta Falcons stadium, while a group of street vendors have been loudly expressing their unhappiness since the city took steps to curtail the selling of goods on public streets.
And Reed made some waves among Democrats this summer when he spoke favorably of Deal, saying he had done a good job as governor. Reed, a former state lawmaker, said it’s been important for him to find common ground on issues that benefit the city.
In the nonpartisan race, Reed will face off against Al Bartell, Fraser Duke and Glenn Wrightson. All three candidates have not reported receiving any campaign contributions. Reed has raised $5.8 million and had $2 million in cash on hand at the start of October.
Mary Norwood, who just barely lost to Reed four years ago, is trying to beat incumbent Aaron Watson for his seat on the Atlanta City Council. Norwood had that seat before she ran against Reed.
Atlanta school board up for grabs
No matter what happens on Tuesday the Atlanta school board will be very different. Four of the nine current members aren’t seeking reelection.
Of the 26 candidates, two are running unopposed. Incumbent Byron Amos in Distrcit 2 and high school history teacher Matt Westmoreland wins District 3 in East Atlanta. That seat is vacated by Cecily Harsch-Kinnane.
Voters will be able to pick four candidates each — one from their district and three who represent the entire city.
Hiring a superintendent will be the board’s top priority after it takes office in January. Superintendent Erroll Davis, who previously served as chancellor for the University System of Georgia, took leadership as the state report on cheating was being released in July 2011, plans to retire.
Heated Johns Creek mayor’s race
Mike Bodker has been Johns Creek’s mayor since the city began last decade. But he’s in hot water this year with ethics investigation hanging over his head.
Former City Councilwoman Bev Miller is running against the incumbent.
In a 28-page report released last month, the Johns Creek City Council says Bodker “accepted a benefit from a developer, and he had a conflict of interest when he voted on at least one rezoning matter for the developer.”
Bodker says he did nothing wrong.
Voters decide where the money goes
The 1 percent SPLOST in Gwinnett County has only been voted down once since it started in the mid-1980s. But it could fall to defeat this year.
If approved, the revenue from the tax would generate $498 million. County officials have earmarked more than 70 percent of those funds for transportation projects.
In Marietta, a proposed $68 million redevelopment bond is in the hands of voters in that Cobb County city. The money is slated to be used for redevelopment on Whitlock Avenue and Franklin Road.
Sunday alcohol sales still to be decided
Voters in Dacula, Palmetto and Morrow will decide if they want to allow Sunday alcohol sales.
By News/Talk WSB web staff
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