DionRabouin.com (sort of)

Atlanta Primary Ballot Includes More Than Vote on Transportation

Posted in Articles by dionrabouin on July 22, 2012

By Dion Rabouin

(Written for The Atlanta Voice)

ATLANTA – A penny sales tax referendum purported to ease traffic congestion metro Atlanta traffic has dominated most dialogue about the July 31 primary election, leaving some voters in the dark about other issues and races on the election ballot.

“Nothing” is what registered voter Sierra Bowden said she has heard so far about the primary, other than the transportation referendum. Bowden said she’d like to know more about who’s running and what’s at stake, but believes there’s been a lack of information presented to the public.

“I’m just going to start watching the news, I guess, to see what’s going on,” she said.

Lonnie Jones, a barber who works in the Edgewood Retail District, said he has gotten about the same amount of information. “I’ve heard about it,” said Jones about the primary. “But that’s it. I’ve just heard.”

That’s one problem the Atlanta NAACP chapter is looking to remedy. The organization scheduled a meet and greet with more than 20 political candidates recently to educate voters about ballot issues.

“People are not as educated about the referendums and the candidates as they would like to be,” said Rev. Joe Flint, chair of voter registration and education for NAACP Atlanta. “So we decided let’s do something different, let’s be more creative, let’s think outside the box.”

There’s a lot more on the July 31 primary ballot than just the transportation referendum. Voters will also be selecting leaders to represent the Democratic and Republican parties in the November general election, and voting on a host of other issues.

Besides the referendum, voters will choose among candidates running for offices in the Georgia House of Representatives, the state Senate and the U.S. Congress. A number of state utility regulators and district attorneys are also up for election.

Sheriff’s races in Fulton and DeKalb counties also are widely expected to draw significant attention, and there are various other offices up for grabs, including several judicial posts, three seats on the state board of education, several senior administrative posts and a seat for tax commissioner.

This year’s primary will also include questions for registered Republicans and Democrats about abortion, charter schools, taxes, gambling and whether or not elected officials should be allowed to accept gifts, among numerous others. The questions will not hold the weight of law, but will inform their parties of voters’ attitudes.

There are also multiple contests for elected officials in DeKalb, Rockdale, Fulton and Gwinnett Counties.

Early voting started on July 9 and so far the turnout has been low. Dr. C.T. Vivian, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said that Georgia’s new voting laws are part of the reason.

“Voter registration is the thing that we’re concerned about,” Vivian said. “We want to register and engage and get out more people than ever before. This is a very crucial election and the idea of suppressing the black vote is too much for us to bear.”

Vivian said voters with questions about ballot issues should contact the SCLC’s headquarters to get more information.

 

For more detailed information about the July 31 primary, visit the Georgia Secretary of State’s office at www.sos.ga.gov/elections

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