Cities weigh costs, polling locations in deciding on managing local elections

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Alpharetta will make a decision in late March on whether to partner with other north Fulton cities in managing its own elections instead of Fulton County.

Six north Fulton cities have their eye on managing their own elections in 2025 and would potentially partner to hire a superintendent to manage the process. Sandy Springs has no election this year but Milton, Roswell, Mountain Park, Alpharetta and Johns Creek have been deciding on the benefits and drawbacks of running their own elections.

Roswell and Milton have decided to manage their local elections and Alpharetta and Mountain Park are nearing a decision on whether to join them.

Alpharetta City Council will discuss costs and possibly reducing the number of polling locations during a work session presentation by the city manager’s office on March 20. The officials will vote on the elections process during a regular meeting on March 27.

Mountain Park will also vote that day on how the city will manage elections this year.

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The cities with upcoming elections must notify Fulton by March 31 if they want the county to manage their elections as usual. Costs and polling locations have become a factor for the north Fulton cities which have varying demographics.

Last month, Johns Creek decided to wait until 2025 to run the city’s local elections. The city estimates the cost of managing its own election this year would be $722,000. The city estimates the cost would decrease to $517,000 in future elections.

Johns Creek officials have discussed keeping 18 polling locations for residents.

Alpharetta has 13 polling locations which Mayor Jim Gilvin says has been managed inefficiently under Fulton County.

During a City Council meeting on Monday, Gilvin said that during statewide elections, lines of people wait at a single early voting location, compared to a small amount of voters at numerous precincts open on Election Day.

Councilman Jason Binder said he would like the public to see what election costs are under Fulton County with 13 polling locations compared to Alpharetta managing its own elections with the same amount or fewer polling places.

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said in a statement that with no local elections for the municipality this year, the city has the luxury of observing “the various approaches ... before determining how we will conduct the 2025 balloting.”

Paul added that the city is looking to ensure that local elections are “conducted in an efficient cost effective manner.”