In 2009, now Mayor Kasim Reed defeated Mary Norwood by 714 votes in a runoff. Eight years later, with seven candidates polling above 5 percent, the race to become Atlanta’s next mayor may be very close again. But today, there are more public questions about the integrity of the country and Georgia’s voting system, as well as doubts about voter education and whether residents in at least one part of the city will even know how long polling places are open. “This is a race with low voter turnout and a high number of candidates so accuracy is very important,” said mayoral candidate Cathy Woolard. “This race will probably be decided by handfuls of voters.” Last week, Woolard said she was concerned about confusion over how long polls would be open Tuesday in the sections of the city of Atlanta that are in DeKalb County.
It may give ground to a legal challenge over the election’s results, she said, although Woolard said she had no plans to bring a suit.
“You want to have an election that is well run and fair, and when there’s things causing problems it does give one concern,” she said.
State law dictates city of Atlanta polling places remain open until 8 p.m. on Election Day. Questions about polling hours came up after Fulton County was granted a court order to keep all voting locations open until 8 p.m. countywide, creating uniformity for a special election to pick a new county commission chair.