DeKalb elections director says early runoff turnout ‘kind of historic’

DeKalb County elections director Erica Hamilton said Friday that turnout for Jan. 5′s high-stakes runoff elections has been strong thus far.

Hamilton said that more than 55,000 DeKalb residents had cast early in-person votes through Thursday, the first four days of advance voting. The county had also issued 131,000 absentee ballots — and already received about 46,000 back.

DeKalb will be closely watched during the runoff for two U.S. Senate seats. Turnout in the deeply Democratic county — where 83% of voters favored president-elect Joe Biden last month — could help swing the contests and the balance of power in the Senate.

“For a runoff, it has been kind of historic,” Hamilton said.

DeKalb has had 11 early voting sites open throughout the county this week and Hamilton said things have gone smoothly, with no sign of the technical issues that plagued early days of advance voting for November’s general election.

After Sunday, the early voting location currently operating at the Decatur Recreation Center will close. A new location at nearby Agnes Scott College will open Monday in its stead.

Hamilton said the county also hopes to have a new early voting location in the Brookhaven area available soon.

“We’re in talks with the school board to hopefully get a site up and running next week,” she said.

A current advance voting schedule — and a list of more than three dozen absentee ballot dropboxes in DeKalb — are posted below.

Registered DeKalb voters may cast ballots at any available site during the early voting period, but must vote at their assigned precinct on election day. Absentee ballots are not being accepted at early voting locations and must be mailed or taken to a dropbox.

Other DeKalb elections notes:

» The change will not become official until next week, but one election day polling place is likely to relocate for Jan. 5.

Voters who cast ballots at Briarwood Recreation Center in Brookhaven during November’s general election will be assigned to Lynwood Recreation Center (3360 Osborn Road NE) this time around. The move is necessary due to renovations at Briarwood, officials have said.

Impacted voters will receive a letter alerting them of the change and signs will be placed outside the old location on election day, the county said.

» Hamilton said the county is currently about 95% staffed for election day. Staffing levels are expected to remain where they were for the general election.

“We don’t want to change anything,” Hamilton said. “November went really well.”

» DeKalb will host yet another election on Feb. 9. The special election will fill the District 90 seat vacated by state Rep. Pam Stephenson. The district also covers parts of Henry and Rockdale counties.

Stephenson’s daughter, using a power of attorney, withdrew her mother’s candidacy for reelection in September. But because her withdrawal came so late in the election cycle, Stephenson’s name remained on the November ballot.

Hamilton said she “hated to break the news” of another election to her staff, which has been working almost ceaselessly since September. But she said morale is good.

“They’re used to it and they’re a great team,” Hamilton said.



List does not include newly announced dropboxes at the Stonecrest Library (3123 Klondike Road in Lithonia), the DeKalb-Atlanta Senior Center (25 Warren Street SE in Atlanta), the North DeKalb Senior Center (3393 Malone Drive in Chamblee) and the South DeKalb Senior Center (1931 Candler Road in Decatur).