The Race for City Hall: Here’s what you need to know

If you’re just now tuning in to the mayor’s race, we’ve got you covered.

Early voting is over. Candidates spent the weekend crisscrossing the city, shaking hands and giving stump speeches. Ads are probably flooding your TV, social media and phone. That can only mean one thing: Election Day is today.

Atlanta voters will head to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballots for mayor, City Council and school board. (Yes, it’s also Game 6 of the World Series tonight.)

You have to go to your assigned precinct to vote on Election Day — you can find that on the state’s My Voter Page site, as well as a sample ballot to get a preview of what you’re voting for.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. for Atlanta precincts in Fulton County. For Atlanta residents living in DeKalb County, voting precincts will technically remain open until 8 p.m. Tuesday — but if you show up after 7 p.m., you’ll only be able to vote by provisional ballot for Atlanta races.

If you’re voting with an absentee ballot, you can return that to select locations until 8 p.m. in Fulton and 7 p.m. in DeKalb, according to an elections spokesman.

We’ve been writing about this election since the beginning, but if you’re just now tuning in, we’ve got you covered. Fourteen people are on the ballot to succeed Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who isn’t running for reelection. The five top-polling candidates are City Councilman Antonio Brown, Councilman Andre Dickens, attorney Sharon Gay, City Council President Felicia Moore, and former Mayor Kasim Reed.

Here’s more info on who’s running for mayor, City Council and council president.

Let’s talk about the issues: Discussions over crime and policing have been front and center this campaign cycle, with each mayoral candidate pitching why they are best-suited to get crime under control.

Almost all of the major candidates want to hire a new police chief and hire more cops — they have different goals for how many they want to add to the force. Reed wants to hire 750. while Dickens wants to grow the force by 250 officers in his first year. Moore has promised to provide incentives to hire at least 200 officers within her first 100 days.

Gay has also touted a plan that includes giving the police mayoral support to improve morale and cracking down on problem businesses. Brown, meanwhile, is seeking to “reimagine” the city’s public safety infrastructure by expanding the nonemergency response system.

Voters have told us they’re also concerned about how Atlanta will grapple with its growth, a topic that spans discussions around affordable housing, income inequality, gentrification and zoning. The mayoral hopefuls have told us their plans to fight gentrification and keep legacy residents in their homes. They also have a range of thoughts on the proposed zoning changes that could come up for a City Council vote in the next few months.

We held a forum with the mayoral candidates last month and got their thoughts on a range of topics affecting the city.

And don’t forget about the City Council races. The 15-members council will look very different in January, with six incumbent members either running for higher office or not seeking reelection. All but one of the incumbents have challengers, who include several progressive candidates looking to upend the status quo on issues of policing and criminal justice.

You can find all of our election coverage at

Stay tuned to Tuesday for full coverage of the election.


This just in: On Election Day Eve, the mayoral candidates are speaking about the families affected by flooding in Peoplestown, the southeast Atlanta neighborhood where the city sought to use eminent domain to acquire several of the properties under the Reed administration.

Activists said two of the families recently received eviction notices from the city. Residents are planning a rally at City Hall at 11 a.m. Monday, and Felicia Moore is expected to attend.

Reed’s campaign scheduled a press conference for 10 a.m. with two councilmembers “to present a solution” for the families still on the block. Just a few weeks ago, at a mayoral forum, one of the remaining Peoplestown residents addressed Reed specifically about her fight to keep her house.


The weekend saw the candidates host a blitz of meet-and-greets, fundraisers and rallies to encourage voters to get to the polls on Tuesday. Felicia Moore stood in the drizzle Saturday afternoon to announce endorsements she’s received, while Reed held a Halloween-themed fundraiser Sunday. Andre Dickens held events in every council district over the weekend, his campaign said, and he’s planning a prayer and vigil for the “soul of the city” tonight.

There were long lines across the city on Friday, the last day of early voting. We got reports of lengthy waits in Buckhead, southwest Atlanta, and on Ponce. Roughly 39,000 people voted early or by mail in Atlanta, according to

Race for City Hall: Atlanta Mayor candidates state their cases


Kasim Reed has laid out his vision for the future of the Atlanta jail, accompanied by an endorsement from the man responsible for Fulton County’s jail, Sheriff Patrick Labat.

Reed said within his first 100 days in office, we would negotiate an agreement with the county to use jail space at the Atlanta City Detention Center to relieve overcrowding at the county jail. He wants to preserve 600 beds at the Atlanta facility for repeat offenders.

“Kasim has the leadership to break through the gridlock and help solve this and other critical problems facing our community,” Labat said.

Mayor Bottoms introduced plans to close the mostly empty city jail earlier this year, but faced pushback from city councilors and the county, with Labat pushing for the county to use some of the beds. Her administration introduced legislation earlier this month that would open a Center for Diversion and Services at the jail.


Some of Atlanta’s most prominent progressive activists and organizers formed a political action committee, they announced last week. The Atlanta Communities United PAC endorsed a slate of City Council candidates, but hasn’t backed a candidate in the mayor’s race yet.


The endorsement corner:

- Among Fulton County leadership, Commissioners Natalie Hall, Khadijah Abdur-Rahman and Marvin Arrington, Jr. were all spotted at Reed events last week.

- Former City Councilman Derrick Boazman, the National Black Church Initiative and the Atlanta Black Chambers are backing Felicia Moore.

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