Voters will cast ballots today in what will likely be the first of two Atlanta mayoral elections.
Eight credible candidates have spent more than $10 million on the race. The crowded field left most of the public struggling to keep up. Experts predict a low turnout, which could open up the door to a surprise victory.
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>> 2017 Voter Guide: Get to know candidates running for office
>> Live updates: Metro Atlantans casting ballots today in several key races
A Landmark Communications poll released this past Friday revealed an something of upset already. For the entire election cycle, City Councilwoman Mary Norwood has led in the polls. But the latest benchmark showed that Keisha Lance Bottoms, a fellow city councilwoman and the lone African American woman on the ballot, was now in the lead with 25 percent of respondents indicating that they favored her.
Peter Aman, the city’s former chief operating officer, remained in third place.
The poll also showed that voters were finally making choices. The number of undecided voters had drop from 15 percent a month ago to only five percent.
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When to vote
Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Election Day, except in the City of Atlanta where the polls will close at 8 p.m.
Any voter who is waiting in line to vote at 7 p.m. (8 p.m. in Atlanta) will be allowed to vote. Peak voting hours are historically from 7 a.m. until 9:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. until 7 p.m., and during the lunch hour.
5 things to watch today
Voter turnout – Predictions call for historically low turnout. If that’s the case, it would seem to favor candidates who’ve not polled in the top two spots. The city could be in for a surprise.
Kasim Reed’s role – How much of an impact did Reed’s endorsement of Keisha Lance Bottoms have on the race? Did it help or hurt, the lone African American woman running for mayor?
Super voters – A low turnout means that the most committed voters will swing the election. An AJC analysis of city voting history shows that roughly 12 percent of Atlanta’s 250,000 registered voters cast ballots in at least five elections since 2013. Are these Super Voters gravitating toward any one candidate?
Women and the ballot – Women make up more than 58 percent of registered voters in Atlanta. And black women make up 33 percent of Super Voters in the city. Which candidate’s message resonated with women the most?
Voter trust – This election occurs against the backdrop of a federal investigation into a bribery scandal at city hall. Former Mayor Shirley Franklin predicts victory for the candidate whom voters believe they can trust. Who accomplished that feat?