Turnout was low at the Grove Park Recreation Center precinct, where two voter check-in computers were stolen the night before an Atlanta school board election on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM

Oct. runoffs will decide Fulton commission, Atlanta school board races

Two Fulton County special elections will be decided in an October runoff after none of the candidates received more than 50% of the vote in elections for the Atlanta school board or the Fulton County commission.

Fewer than 4 percent of eligible voters cast ballots.

Aretta Baldon and Davida Huntley were top vote-getters Tuesday in the Atlanta school board race to fill the District 2 seat in central Atlanta. The winner will fill the seat vacated by Byron Amos, who left the board to run for Atlanta city council.

Huntley said she’s running because of the deep inequities she sees in District 2. She said the district needs to improve its communication with parents and homeowners, and involve them in decision-making and follow up with them often.

“When people feel that you really have a genuine interest in what they want, they are more apt to be involved. They are more apt to reach out,” said Huntley, who works in financial services for a private company.

Her son attends Washington High School, where many generations of her family have graduated.

Baldon raised more than $37,000 to fund her campaign so far, the most of any school board candidate. Her website lists her as the president of the parent teacher organization at KIPP Atlanta Collegiate, a charter high school located in District 2.

She works in freelance photography and marketing. 

“Our campaign is built around the belief that every child is able to attend a quality neighborhood public school. It's long overdue for schools on Atlanta’s Southwest and Westside to receive the resources they need and the respect they deserve so that all students are reading, writing, and doing math on grade level,” said Baldon, in a statement released Wednesday.

Winners in the Fulton County commission race were Joe Carn, a former College Park city councilman, and Gordon Joyner, a former Fulton County commissioner. The winner of that election will fill the District 6 seat vacated by Emma Darnell, who died this spring.

The District 6 commissioner represents much the south part of Fulton County, including all or part of nine cities and the last unincorporated part of Fulton.

Neither Carn nor Joyner returned several phone calls seeking comment.

Carn, 48, left his job in the Fulton solicitor’s office earlier this summer. He lost re-election to the College Park City Council by just two votes in 2017. He said in a community forum this year that he wants to streamline the court system, keep residential property taxes from rising and improve senior services.

Joyner, 69, served on the Fulton County commission from 1987-1998. He said previously that he’s best qualified to be in county government because he understands the responsibilities of the position.

The unofficial results were completed just after 11 p.m. Tuesday. Earlier in the day, two voter check-in computers were stolen from an Atlanta voting precinct, the Grove Park Recreation Center. Polls opened as normal and the theft did not affect the election, Fulton elections director Richard Barron said.

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