JONESBORO, Ga. — Dr. Donya L. Sartor was re-elected as City of Jonesboro’s mayor Tuesday night. As of 11 p.m. Sartor had gotten 233 total votes with Pat Sebo-Hand finishing second with 169 total votes and Arlene Charles finishing third with 81 votes. Sebo-Hand received the most votes on Election Day, 71, while Sartor received the most votes during the early voting period, 163.
Moments after the votes were tallied Sartor told The Atlanta Voice about earning a full term. “Now I can settle in and get comfortable,” she said. “There’s work to be done and I’m excited about it.”
A new Jonesboro City Councilmember earned one of the three seats up for grabs this election, Asjah Miller finished third behind incumbents Alfred Dixon (279 votes) and Tracey Messick (245). This election was the first time Miller ran for public office, according to her.
Earlier in the day Miller explained why she was running for a council seat. Jonesboro’s city council only has one Black member, Dixon, and now has a Black female member back on the council.
“I’m running because the City of Jonesboro needs adequate representation,” she said. “I’m concerned about whether the people running the city care about everybody.”
Hitting the ground running
Mr. Willie got out of the car and made his way over to the polling station. He was picked up by a friend that had already voted and dropped off at the Jonesboro City Center around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning so he could make sure his vote was counted. Willie has a prosthetic right leg and doesn’t drive too often.
Upon leaving the polling station with his Georgia Voter sticker in hand he said, “Y’all are lucky, because I was fixin’ to go fishing.”
Every vote counts on an Election Day that proceeded a record number of early voters in one of Clayton County’s oldest cities, Jonesboro. Along with three city council seats, there is a run for the mayoral seat, which happens to be occupied at the moment by the city’s first Black mayor, Dr. Donya Lyn Sartor. The mayor stood shoulder to shoulder with campaign volunteers and Asjah Miller, a first-time candidate for city council and public school teacher in the county, across the street from city center Tuesday morning. Despite a record 308 early votes having been casted already, Sartor was outside since early that morning making sure voters knew there was plenty of time and opportunity to vote before the polls closed at 7 p.m.
There was a previous record 251 early votes casted last March (only 186 votes were casted on Election Day) during the emergency election for mayor that Sartor, who previously served on the city council, won. She knows an election can be swung with only a handful of votes in Jonesboro.
“We are not taking anything for granted,” Sartor said. She wore a neon green “Sartor for Mayor” t-shirt beneath her coat. “That was our plan, we wanted to get people to the polls early.”
There are three women running for mayor this time around and one of those candidates, Pat Sebo-Hand, a member of Jonesboro City Council for 13 years, was holding her own grassroots voter drive up the street from where Sartor stood. Sebo-Hand is also optimistic about the voter engagement this year.
“I think we’re going to have more voters this time, people seem to be much more engaged politically,” Sebo-Hand said. “Our municipal elections are usually less attended.”
Arlene Charles, the third candidate for mayor, drove by both women in a pickup truck with a large red, white and blue “Arlene Charles for Mayor” sign on the bed.
Former Mayor of Jonesboro Joy Day came from her home in Canton to show support for Tracey Messick, an incumbent and one of the five other people vying for the city council seats alongside Miller, Penny Fauscett, Charles L. Forsyth, Jr, Cameron Dixon, and another incumbent Alfred Dixon.
Day waved a sign and said hello to passersby. Messick remembers Day as one of the first people to recommend that she run for city council. “Having her support touches my heart,” said Messick, also an educator. “It means a lot to me and means a lot that she came down for this.”
Brookhaven mayoral candidate Hilerie Lind remained “optimistic”
By Janelle Ward
BROOKHAVEN, Ga.- Brookhaven mayoral candidate Hilerie Lind hosted an election night watch party open to the public at the Continent Restaurant and Cigar Lounge in northeast Atlanta on Tuesday evening.
In a relaxed get-together surrounded by family and friends, Lind watched the municipal election results roll in in real time, though a winner in her race still waits to be confirmed.
“I’m still pretty optimistic,” Lind said, in reference to the mayor’s race, the ballots for which are still being counted, as of 9:45 p.m. on election night. “Especially given the fact that the amount of people that I’ve spoken to who have supported what I’m doing, I still feel pretty good about (the race).”
An accountant and mother of two with career ties to the U.S. Department of Labor and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lind
launched her campaign for mayor of Brookhaven in August aiming to improve the allocation of resources to residents and increase transparency between city government and the public.
Lind is one of four candidates vying for the mayorship of the City of Brookhaven. Former Brookhaven councilman John Park led the race from the start of tabulations, picking up 1,120 votes from mail-in absentee ballots and votes cast during the state’s three-week-long early voting period, according to unofficial data from the DeKalb County government website.
The mayoral race may lead to a runoff, given no candidate is confirmed to have received at least 50% of the total votes cast.
Lind said that entering the race later than her challengers left her with less time to fundraise and spread word of her campaign across the community.
“I got a late start,” Lind said. “People didn’t know me, so I didn’t have signs like everybody else. I’ve really run this campaign with me and my fiancé and a few of the people that we know here and there.”
Regardless, Lind said that the votes counted so far only represent a fraction of Brookhaven’s collective of registered voters, many of whom waited until today to cast their ballots. She said more than 30,000 residents voted before the polls closed at 7 p.m.
At 11 p.m. with just over 14% of the votes counted Lind was last amongst the four candidates.
“About 2,400 votes have been counted, and that’s from early voting,” Lind said. “Considering the population (of Brookhaven) is almost 70,000 and only 2,400 votes have been counted, I’m still pretty optimistic.”
Lind’s campaign also advocates for expanded affordable housing options for Brookhaven’s legacy residents.