North DeKalb voting precincts are packed today – July 31– as Brookhaven voters decide whether to incorporate as a new city.
Campaign signs dotted major roads in the areas surrounding polling places and volunteers waved as drivers passed, evidence of the last-ditch efforts from organizations like No City Brookhaven and Brookhaven Yes to convince undecided voters.
In DeKalb County, 30,000 residents have the opportunity to weigh in on the issue of cityhood, according to the DeKalb County elections office. From looks of precincts today, many of them are doing so.
The city would be in the area of unincorporated DeKalb County bordered by Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Chamblee and a portion of I-85.
The parking lot of Montgomery Elementary School on Ashford Dunwoody Road was filled around lunchtime, and a steady stream of voters had poured in and out all morning, according to precinct volunteers.
“I’ve been volunteering at this location for five years, and I can easily say that this has been the most people I’ve seen show up to vote in that time,” said precinct assistant manager Robert Harvey. “Normally we have 15-minute gaps when nobody’s here, but today it’s been constant. I think the cityhood vote is definitely making more people come to the polls.
The same was true at other precincts, including St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church, where precinct manager Judy Seger said, “The turnout appears to be twice what it was for the March presidential candidate primary.”
Voters filled the 16 Montgomery Elementary voting booths. Voters waiting to make their choices weighed in on what the cityhood vote meant to them.
“I’m 20, but this is the first major election I’ve voted in,” said Dani Heidt, who was waiting in line with her mother. “The whole process is new, and I feel a little nervous about it, but I think whether or not this area becomes a city is extremely important. So I’m excited to take part in the vote, and it makes me feel powerful.”
The debate over the creation of the city of Brookhaven has been raging for months, with organizations on both sides of the issue covering north Dekalb with campaign signs and mailers and participating in multiple forums on the issue.
“I’m for the city,” said resident Charlene Mower, as she stuck her “I’m A Georgia Voter” sticker to her lapel. “But either way, this vote is definitely something that everyone in the area needs to be concerned about, and I think they are.”
Also up for a vote is the proposed Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST), which would impose a one-cent sales tax to pay for transportation projects in the region. This election also incorporates primaries for candidates at the local, state, and national levels.
For further updates on election results throughout the afternoon and evening of July 31, please visit www.reporternewspapers.net and follow @Reporter_News on Twitter.