Voters Head To The Polls
What you need to know about Tuesday's election
The much-anticipated state General Primary Election is finaly here as voting precincts will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. all across SW Atlanta.
Voters will head to the polls to cast a vote in many local and state races including primary elections for seats in the state legislature.
The ballot also includes the referendum asking voters whether they support a penny sales tax earmarked for transportation projects across the metro-Atlanta region.
To generate a personalized sample ballot and check on your polling place, go to the My Voter page of the state Board of Elections and enter your name, county and birthday. (This will only work if you are currently registered to vote.)
Here's a look at some local races:
House District 56
Britt is the former Executive Director of the Alston & Bird law firm who had served on the campaigns of Alex Wan for city council in 2009 and Joan Garner for county commissioner in 2010.
Thomas, who represented district 55 from 1985-1992 and again from 2002-2008, has been campaigning on a platform based on education reform and job creation.
District 56 includes Ansley Park, Home Park, Georgia Tech, and parts of SW Atlanta.
House District 57
Incumbents Pat Gardner and Rashad Taylor will face off in what is expected to be a heated race for the District 57 seat in the Georgia House of Representatives.
Gardner and Taylor — both Democrats — are forced to run for the same seat after legislators redrew district boundaries statewide last year.
Gardner has represented District 57 for nearly 12 years.
Taylor currently represents District 55, which includes portions of Northwest and Southwest Atlanta.
The new District 57 and 58 boundaries are basically split by Piedmont Avenue in Midtown. The redrawn 57th district lines include Piedmont Park and stretch south from 14th Street, including many of the condominiums in the heart of Midtown between Piedmont Ave. and West Peachtree St. It also includes and parts of SW Atlanta.
House District 58
House Representatives Ralph Long (D-Atlanta) and Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) are set to battle for a seat in Georgia House of Representatives that would represent portions of the city from Morningside to SW Atlanta.
Bell and Long are also forced to run for the same seat because of redistricting.
The newly redrawn district includes most of the Midtown Neighborhood south of 10th Street and east of Piedmont Avenue. The winner will face Republican Earl Cooper in November.
Bell, a consultant, has represented District 58 for three terms.
Long, a real estate broker, currently represents District 61, which includes portions of southwest Atlanta. He has served in the Georgia General Assembly for four years.
5th Congressional District
Lewis, who built his legacy in the Civil Rights Movement alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and other stalwarts of that era, has made his experience and that part of his life a central part of his campaign.
In campaign literature, he calls those days of getting arrested for equality and the right to vote "Getting into good trouble."
But more than four decades later — despite the importance of those efforts — does it still resonate with today's voters, who go to the polls July 31 to cast their ballots in the primaries?
By extension, it calls to mind Lewis' age, 72. Johnson is 44.
Johnson has said the election should be about the issues of today and not so much about the concerns of the past.
But in a recent Huffington Post piece, Alan Grayson, former U.S. Congressman from Florida's 8th District, takes umbrage with age being an issue. He writes:
Attempting to disparage John Lewis's civil rights accomplishments, Lewis's African-American opponent said recently: "This election is not about where we were 45 or 50 years ago in the past." Lewis replied: "If it hadn't been for what I and others did 45 and 50 years ago, he wouldn't be able to run.
What it comes down to is this: If all you've got to say in a political campaign is: "I came out of my mother's womb after the other guy did," that ain't much. Especially against John Lewis's heroic, lifelong record of enormous accomplishments. There is no statute of limitations on heroism.
Even so, voters in the 5th Congressional District, which includes and parts of SW Atlanta, may not connect as much with that message.
For those voters, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is history in an America where a number of elected officials in major U.S. are black, Asian and Latino.
And President Barack Obama himself is bi-racial.
What do you think? Are the issues of the past still relevant in this race? Is age a factor in your decision on which candidate will get your vote?