In DeKalb, some voters don’t like Trump and want to get it over with


In DeKalb, some voters don’t like Trump and want to get it over with

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Voters walk in The DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections Office off Memorial Drive on Monday morning as early voting begins. JOSHUA SHARPE/JOSHUA.SHARPE@AJC.COM

As early voters streamed into the DeKalb County elections office Monday morning, Ollie Brooks of Stone Mountain was walking out. 

She'd just cast a ballot to voice her frustration with the presidential election, to make it tangible. 

"I'm tired of the mess," she said in the parking lot off Memorial Drive. "I'm tired of Donald Trump.” 

She said it again: “I’m tired of Donald Trump." 

In DeKalb, one of Georgia's most faithful Democratic strongholds, Brooks had plenty of company in her distaste for the Republican front runner. But even more conservative residents shared her frustration with the 2016 election. 

“If there were three (mainstream) people running, there’s two people I wouldn’t vote for,” Stone Mountain resident Rebecca Johnston said. 

A self-described “independent Republican,” Johnston said “disgusting” rhetoric has left her voting “against” the candidate of her typical party of choice, not exactly “for” Hillary Clinton. 

Johnston didn’t even want to say the name Hillary Clinton, only that she is doing what she must in a year of poor choices. 

Also on the minds of voters is Gov. Nathan Deal's proposed Opportunity School District. If approved, it would amend the state’s constitution to allow the state to take control of “chronically failing” public schools, including some 25 in DeKalb

Cheryl Jennings, a former daycare owner pushing her 4-month-old granddaughter in a stroller, said local control hasn’t worked so far: “I agree (with the OSD) just as long as we have some input.” 

Others didn’t see the benefits of state intervention. 

Tracy Lucas, who escorted his 85-year-old mother to the polls, said the power should lie with those who work in the district day in, day out. 

But as pressing as the OSD vote is to DeKalb, when asked what’s important to them this election all voters brought up the presidential race. 

Jimmy Perkins spoke strongly of Clinton and her “lying, cheating” and email controversy. He said he’d vote for a “frog” before her. 

He wasn’t done: “If Trump don’t win, I’m thinking about killing myself. The only reason I won’t is because it hurts.” 

Perkins is a rare conservative voice in a county where Democrats picked up momentum steadily in the past few decades as most of Georgia turned red

DeKalb's status as a blue haven was evident as Ollie Brooks complained about Trump in the parking lot. Jennings, who was pushing the baby’s stroller to her car, overheard and stopped in her tracks. 

She called out a second to Brooks, a stranger: “I’m tired of this mess..."

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