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Will Voters Sleep On Election Day?

The July 22 Run-offs will decide key races

By Stan Washington, The Atlanta Voice And wire reports | 7/18/2014, 9:59 a.m.
If Voter Apathy was a political candidate, there would be no run-off on Tuesday, July 22. In the last election ...
Only 18.5 percent of the registered voters in Georgia bothered to go to the polls during the last election and if history is any indication, there will be fewer people casting votes for the runoffs, than in the previous primary in May. (The AV)

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Jack Kingston David Perdue Marvin Arrington, Jr. Brenda Muhammad

If Voter Apathy was a political candidate, there would be no run-off on Tuesday, July 22. In the last election Apathy beat all candidates for every office in Georgia by a landslide.

Despite the TV campaign war being waged between GOP senatorial candidates U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston and businessman David Perdue, summer is still on the forefront on the public’s minds followed closely with activities surrounding back- -to-school which starts for many metro Atlanta area children in early August.

Only 18.5 percent of the registered voters in Georgia bothered to go to the polls during the last election and if history is any indication, there will be fewer people casting votes for the runoffs, than in the previous primary in May.

For Karlise Yvette Grier of the Atlanta chapter of the League of Women Voters, the apathy of Georgia voters is disturbing. The League held a candidate forum in Midtown Atlanta in late June.

“We were very disappointed that there was less than a 20 percent turnout at the last election,” Grier said. “For instance the Democratic race for (Fulton County Chairman) between Chairman John Eaves Robb Pitts and was decided by less than 400 votes which goes to show you that every vote counts.”

We hope that forums like this encourage people to become a more informed voter and that they also explain to their children the importance of voting, Grier said.

“We can not complain about the type of government we have if we are not willing to participate in the political process and vote. Democracy is not a spectator sport. We have the opportunity to shape what the future of Fulton County looks like or what happens to Grady Hospital. We have the opportunity to create the society and the government that you want,” she added.

Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts who failed in his bid to replace Eaves as chairman has taken his fight to court in order to get the results thrown out. Pitts claims that the ballot designed unlike those in the surrounding counties did not designated that the At-large District 7 race was for the chairperson of the county.

Pitts also maintains that no educational awareness campaign explaining the changes in the ballot and the redrawn districts was carried out by the Fulton County Department of Registrations and Elections.

The other closely watched Fulton County Commission race is in the newly drawn 5th District which pits former Atlanta School

Board member and community activist Brenda Muhammad against attorney Marvin Arrington Jr.

Arrington was the lead voter in the race while Muhammad came in second out of a crowded field of candidates. Arrington knows first-hand how a low turnout can have a negative effect on a candidate’s quest for office. He lost a close race for state District 62 seat two years in a runoff despite being the lead vote getter in the primary.

During the forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters, both candidates said they would use their position to try and influence businesses to relocate to not just to the 5th District but Fulton County in general.