MORROW, GA. – Candidate for Clayton County sheriff Clarence Cox stood in the middle of a room inside a local Harley Davidson dealership Saturday morning. As the rain fell outside, Cox was addressing local supporters about the upcoming runoff election that is scheduled to take place Tuesday, April 18.
Early voting for the runoff begins Monday, April 10. Cox and interim Clayton County Sheriff Lavon Allen should be concerned about the low voter turnout heading into this important local election.
The special election for sheriff of Clayton County, the sixth largest county in the state, saw a small portion of the county’s registered voters turnout. Cox, finished second on Election Day, but managed to force a runoff with 29% of the vote.
Beginning on Monday with early voting, Cox hopes there’s a better turnout this time around. “We have to let them know the seriousness of this,” Cox said about local voters. “If we want to see some change we have to vote.”
Alvin Farmer, a resident of nearby Hampton and a United States Air Force veteran agreed that voting is important. Farmer was in attendance Saturday morning in support of Cox.
“I’ve been doing my research and I think he’s the best man left,” said Farmer. 68, of Cox. “I’ve had dealings with [former Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill] and his people and something has got to change.”
During his speech Cox said there was a “brighter day ahead” and that “help is on the way.” Runoff elections have lower attendance on average, but it is hard to imagine less people voting than already voted in March.
There are nearly 300,000 residents in Clayton County , with just over 206,000 registered to vote. As of Monday, March 20, 2023 there were just 9,521 votes cast during the election, according to the county’s voting website. There were also another 207 ballots accepted by mail. There were a total of just over 15,000 total votes cast. There was a 5% voter turnout during the election.
“I’m going to continue doing the things I am doing,” Cox said to the crowd. “Voting matters.”