Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
Results will begin to be uploaded to the Secretary of State’s website by 8 p.m., predicts Janine Eveler, director of the Cobb Board of Elections.
“Maybe by 9:30 p.m. we’ll be done,” Eveler said.
With no governor or president on the ballot, today’s election has only 24 of Cobb’s more than 150 polling precincts open, meaning most of the 390,000 registered voters in Cobb County are not eligible to vote.
Of Marietta’s 27,500 registered voters, 1,079 participated in early voting as of Monday afternoon, while in Kennesaw, 274 of its 15,614 registered voters had voted early, Eveler said.
Total turnout in Marietta’s 2009 municipal election was at about 18 percent. On the ballot at that time was a $25 million bond for park improvements, which voters passed.
“This has the redevelopment bond, so it may be similar; it depends on people’s interest,” Eveler said, describing an 18 percent turnout during a municipal election as being at the high end.
“It can range from 4 percent, to 18-19 percent,” she said.
Two years ago, voter turnout in Kennesaw was 19 percent, but the mayor was on the ballot. Four years ago, voter turnout in Kennesaw was at 5 percent, although in that election only one of three Kennesaw City Council seats was contested. This time, three incumbents are being challenged.
Late precinct cards riles NAACP president
One person who is not pleased with how this election process has unfolded is Deane Bonner, president of the Cobb NAACP. Bonner said she is concerned that voters in Marietta’s Ward 5, which is represented by Councilman Anthony Coleman, won’t know where to vote because of the city’s recent redistricting.
Ward 5 voters only recently started receiving cards in the mail telling them where their new polling places are, Bonner said.
Eveler said many counties have had trouble getting precinct cards printed by the state due to problems with the new state-wide Voter Registration System. The state began printing cards on Sept. 26.
“To our recollection, the last batch of Marietta cards, which likely included some Ward 5 cards, was mailed on Friday, October 25th,” Eveler said.
Bonner said the state and Cobb Elections office had a duty to alert voters sooner.
“We are saying that is totally unacceptable for this to happen that you are sending out 3,601 cards to people that have to go to the polls to vote in less than five days,” Bonner said. “Her (Eveler’s) recommendation is to do some random calling to see if the people have got it. That’s ridiculous. You are disenfranchising people, and I told her we’re not going back 100 years where you put any kind of obstacles in the way of folks not voting.”
Eveler advises voters to check the Secretary of State’s My Voter Page at www.sos.ga.gov/mvp if they are unclear on the location of their polling place.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp reminds voters to bring any valid state or federal government issued ID such as a Georgia driver’s license to the polls. For problems, contact the poll manager on site or the Secretary of State’s Office at (877) 725-9797.
The big ticket races in the city of Marietta are the mayor’s race and the vote on a proposed $68 million redevelopment bond. Mayor Steve Tumlin is being challenged by printer Charley Levinson.
Three City Council seats are also being contested. Ward 4 Marietta City Councilman Andy Morris is challenged by Marshall Dye, who served on the Marietta Board of Zoning Appeals and who owns Court Makers Inc. on Marble Mill Road, a tennis court-manufacturing company. Ward 5 Councilman Anthony Coleman is being challenged by Doug Martin, who served in the U.S. Marines.
And Councilwoman Annette Lewis is being challenged by Marietta Board of Education member Stuart Fleming.
Two seats on Marietta’s school board are being contested. Ward 1 school board member Brett Bittner is challenged by Justin Clarke, an assistant vice president for Bank of America, and Chris Everett, who owns a rental property management company.
Fleming’s vacated seat on the school board has brought out two contenders: Jeriene Grimes, Bonner’s daughter, and Marietta dentist Paul Gilreath.
Kennesaw, Austell and Senate District 14
Three seats on the Kennesaw City Council are open.
Newly appointed councilman Matt Riedemann is being challenged by Debra Williams, who owns her own public relations and marketing business and serves on the Kennesaw Planning and Zoning Board. Councilman Jeff Duckett is being challenged by James Sebastian, chairman of the Kennesaw Citizens Advisory Committee and owner of SAFE LLC, a consulting company specializing in product warrantees. And Councilman Bruce Jenkins faces both former Mayor Leonard Church and Briggett Washington, CEO of the nonprofit, Marietta-based Cobb Alzheimer’s Foundation.
Austell has two contested City Council races. Incumbent Trudie Causey is being challenged by Ollie Clemons, Jr. and Chris Djonis, while Councilman Martin Standard is being challenged by Randy Green and Ann Turner.
Residents in north Cobb who are in Senate District 14 may vote in a special election to replace former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville), who resigned to run for U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey’s seat. There are seven Cobb precincts in that senate district with include 14,885 registered voters.
“Most of the senate district is in Cherokee and Bartow. We’re just a sliver of it,” Eveler said.