A momentous Election Day arrived in Georgia Jan. 5, with the nation awaiting the outcome of two runoffs that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate, and outrage still boiling as President Trump continues to claim conspiracies caused him to lose in the state on Nov. 3.
But life was quieter at local polls, where volunteers showed up as they have for any other election, with the now-familiar pandemic precautions of masks, face shields and frequent wipe-downs of voting machines. Another sign of the times was the snack table — with signs touting a Democratic Party “Voter Protection Line” — at Brookhaven’s Ashford Park Elementary School.
At North Springs High School in Sandy Springs, 16-year-old senior Divine Madubike was serving as election manager of the precinct for the second time. A pandemic-voting veteran, Madubike says his first such position was assistant manager at Woodland Elementary for the 2020 primary.
Working alongside Madubike was volunteer John O’Connor, a member of the North Springs Class of 1977. “This is my first time back to the school, and I chose this assignment thinking how neat it will be back inside,” said O’Connor. “Divine is a great story. He will graduate a year early, and demonstrates leadership qualities you do not see every day.”
Voter turnout was light at those polls, as well as sites at Buckhead’s Chastain Park gym and Dunwoody’s Kingswood Church, on the afternoon of Election Day. Absentee and early voting numbers were big.
Results in the Senate races remained to be determined early on the morning of Jan. 6. The runoffs pitted Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler against Democratic challenger Rev. Raphael Warnock, and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff against Republican incumbent David Perdue.
Also on the ballot was a runoff between Democrat Daniel Blackman and Republican incumbent Lauren “Bubba” McDonald for the District 4 Public Service Commission seat, where the commissioner represents north Georgia but is elected by voters statewide.
–Photos and reporting by Phil Mosier.