Poor voter turnout reported citywide

The City of Atlanta elections results were announced Tuesday, Nov. 2 after polling closed at 8 a.m. A few pivotal races were left undecided, as no one candidate achieved the required 50% vote needed to take office. The campaign will continue with run-off elections, to be held on Dec. 1 to fill the position of mayor, Atlanta City Council district 6, and other offices in the city council and school board.

The results for mayor in the initial elections came in Tuesday night to show that Nancy Norwood only received 44.64% of the total votes, followed by Kasim Reed with 37.99%. Candidates Lisa Borders and Jesse Spikes made their concession speeches late Tuesday evening. Alex Wan, who received 33.27%, and Tad Christian, who received 22.34%, will also continue to campaign for the City Council seat for District 6 (Midtown).

Reed has said that he plans to continue his strategy of door to door campaigning which has proven successful for the past 17 months. Norwood has said that she plans to pursue the support of Lisa Borders, who came in third on Tuesday with 13.92% of the vote. In an election that has been so far muddied with questions of race and age, the two candidates are trying to keep to the high road as they continue down the road to December.

The elections for precinct 02x were held in Tech Rec in the student center. The environment was one of the major differences for this year’s elections with sounds of pins falling and students applauding coming from an event around the corner. Usually held in the Piedmont Room, the election station ended up in the Tec Rec in the Student Center instead due to overbooking. Poll manager Harold Robinson did say however, that for future elections, including the run-off election, they’ll make sure to book the Piedmont room early.

For Robinson, the day started at 6 a.m. He declared the polls open at 7 a.m. for the students and other voters of the precinct. “We have had about a 5% turn out, around one hundred people or so, from the 2,300 in the precinct,” said Robinson at 6:30p.m. However, he was hopeful for a large amount of late-comers, due to people getting off work and out of classes later in the day, before he declared the polls closed at 8p.m. At the end of the day, the official turnout was 6.47% of the total precinct.

The turn-out rate was low across the city. Compared to the 2001 mayoral race when Shirley Franklin was first elected, where 41% of registered voters cost a ballot, only 24% of registered voters turned out Tuesday. One district in southwest Atlanta had less than 5% voter turn-out, although other southwestern precincts saw turn-outs of up to 30%.

Electronic “dream machines” were used this year, eight in total. There had been a couple minor glitches with the computers according to Robinson, including voters being mismatched to their precincts.

William Harris, 4th year CS, said, “As a CS major, I wish there was more transparency. With the old punching cards, at least you could tell exactly how you had voted. With these computers, it’s not the same.”

“Throughout the day, 3 tapes will be run through the machines,” said Robinson. “The first is a short tape that we run through in the morning that makes sure no one has voted on the machines yet. At the end of the day, we run two long tapes. One goes to the Secretary State offices, and the other goes on the back window [in the student center] so that everyone at the polling place can see the results.” At the end of the day the main results were taken to the officials for Fulton County. According to Robinson, the whole process [of voting] takes only fifteen minutes.