To the dedicated Cobb County residents who cast a ballot in the June 9 election: your work is not yet done. Mark your calendars, for there is another election Aug. 11, only two weeks from Tuesday.
Of course, most candidates have moved on to the Nov. 3 general election or won outright if they were seeking a nonpartisan post such as a judgeship.
But a handful remain. They are the candidates who finished in the top two in their race with less than 50% of the vote.
Races to be decided Aug. 11 are:
♦ The Democratic primary for the Cobb Board of Commissioners seat representing District 4, which is currently held by Democrat Lisa Cupid, who is vacating her seat to run for Cobb chair.
♦ The Republican primary for the Cobb Board of Commissioners seat representing District 2, which is currently held by Republican Bob Ott, who is not seeking another term.
♦ The Democratic Primary for Georgia House District 35, which is currently held by Ed Setzler, R-Acworth.
♦ The Democratic primary for Clerk of Superior Court, a position currently held by Republican Rebecca Keaton.
♦ The race to succeed retiring Superior Court Judge Steve Schuster.
♦ The race to replace retiring Cobb State Court Post 6 Judge Toby Prodgers.
Early voting began Monday at the county’s election headquarters on Whitlock Avenue. Another four early voting locations — one in each of the county’s four districts — will open Aug. 3.
As of Wednesday, 286 people voted early in the Aug. 11 runoff in person and another 9,000 cast an absentee ballot, according to the website of the county’s elections department.
Such numbers pale in comparison to those for the June 9 election, which smashed records as an unprecedented number of people submitted absentee ballots due to the coronavirus.
The election was also impacted by long lines at the polls, which Cobb elections director Janine Eveler attributed to the coronavirus and lack of state support for new, complicated voting machines.
The issues were not limited to Cobb — they were, in fact, even worse in some other metro Atlanta counties. Nevertheless, county Democrats have pressed Eveler for a number of changes.
Some will have to wait until the November election. Eveler has ordered 12 new drop boxes where voters can leave an absentee ballot (there are currently four) but those new boxes will not be installed in time for the Aug. 11 runoff. And even if the Board of Elections approves a proposal to mail absentee ballot applications to every Cobb voter at a special-called meeting on Monday, the Cobb elections department wouldn’t be able to pull it off in time for the runoff.
Eveler has committed to some new measures that will be ready for the runoff, however. They include new training protocols for poll workers, more aggressive recruitment of poll workers, adding two days to the delivery schedule for voting machines (which are not stored at polling locations) and increasing the number of voting machines at the polls.
“We’re directing the poll workers to not necessarily consider social distancing in the placement of the machines, so they may be closer than 6 feet,” Eveler said Wednesday.
Whether such measures will work may be a mystery until the November election, which is expected to draw a record number of voters. Meanwhile, Eveler said turnout for runoffs is typically low, and she doesn’t expect this one to strain the county much.
“Of course you never know who’s going to show up on election day,” she said.