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Low turnout expected for March 21 Stonecrest election

Jennifer Ffrench-Parker | 3/17/2017, 6 a.m.

More than 38,992 registered voters in the new city of Stonecrest can go to the polls on March 21 to pick their first mayor and five-member city council, but election officials predict that a mere fraction of them will do it.

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Maxine Daniels

“Most special elections have 3 [percent] to 5 percent turnout,” Maxine Daniels, DeKalb Registration and Elections director, said Thursday.

The low prediction is bolstered by the low early voting turnout since Feb. 27. A day before early voting ended on March 17, only 321 voters – less than 10 percent of Stonecrest’s registered voters – had cast ballots.

Candidates and political pundits had hoped for a larger turnout given the fact that this is the inaugural election for the new city of Stonecrest.

State Rep. Doreen Carter, whose House District 92 includes a portion of the new city, said March 16 that she is encountering constituents who still don’t know that the city was created, that they live in it, and that there is an election on Tuesday.

Jimmy Clanton Jr., a District 1 candidate, said he is very disappointed about the low early voting.

“Given all the noise on Nextdoor [the neighborhood internet portal that connects dozens of neighborhoods in the city], I expected more people to have voted,” he said Wednesday.

Instead, Clanton said people seem more concerned about negative things than voting.

“They talk trash and won’t take a minute to vote,” he said. "Let's show up and vote. That's a sure way to tell people what we think of them."

Of 38,992 registered Stonecrest voters, the county elections office considers 31,097 active voters because they cast ballots in the past two DeKalb elections.

On election day, March 21, all 19 precincts in the city will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Runoffs, if needed, will take place April 18.

A sample ballot is available at www.dekalbvotes.com.

Residents can verify if they live within the new city and their council district at http://stonecrestcityalliance.com/dmap.html and search by their street address. Voters also can search for their district at www.stonecrestcity.com.

Winners of the March 21 election will make up the first elected government of the new city of 50,000.