Atlanta voters: If you’re in Senate District 39, runoff may be confusing

Voting stickers and hand sanitizers are ready for use during the Georgia primary elections at Pinckneyville Community Center in Norcross on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Voting stickers and hand sanitizers are ready for use during the Georgia primary elections at Pinckneyville Community Center in Norcross on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Vote will require a separate ballot from 5th District ballot in December runoff

If you are an Atlanta voter who lives in both the 5th Congressional District and State Senate District 39, the runoff election on Dec. 1 will be a two-step process, a Fulton County official said Friday.

The runoff election for the Senate seat will be on a separate ballot, Fulton elections chief Richard Barron said during a virtual election board meeting. As of Friday, the ballots for the Senate race had not been printed. Early voting for the congressional race began on Nov. 9.

DeKalb County has Dec. 1 runoff for Doraville City Council

There will be three days — Nov. 23 to Nov. 25 — of early voting for the Senate runoff between Democrats Sonya Halpern and Linda Pritchett. They were the top two vote-getters in the Nov. 3 special primary election for the seat held by Nikema Williams. Williams became the Democratic nominee to succeed U.S. Rep. John Lewis after he died in July. Williams was elected Nov. 3 and will begin her term in January.

ExploreHall, Franklin to face each other in runoff to succeed U.S. Rep. John Lewis

Senate District 39 spans from north Buckhead, snaking roughly 20 miles along Interstate 85 down to past Hapeville. The 5th Congressional District arguably covers most of what people think when they say “Atlanta” — including portions of Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton counties.

State Senate District 39 map

Senate District 39 spans from north Buckhead, snaking roughly 20 miles along Interstate 85 down to past Hapeville. (Georgia Legislature map)
Senate District 39 spans from north Buckhead, snaking roughly 20 miles along Interstate 85 down to past Hapeville. (Georgia Legislature map)

Credit: Georgia Legislature

Credit: Georgia Legislature

Georgia 5th Congressional District map

Georgia's 5th Congressional District arguably covers most of what people think when they say “Atlanta” — including portions of Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton counties. (Georgia Legislature)
Georgia's 5th Congressional District arguably covers most of what people think when they say “Atlanta” — including portions of Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton counties. (Georgia Legislature)

Credit: Georgia Legislature

Credit: Georgia Legislature

The 5th District runoff on Dec. 1 is between Robert Franklin, the former president of Morehouse College, and former Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall. The winner of that runoff will serve the remaining weeks of Lewis’ current term.

If that’s not confusing enough, Barron said voting for both the 5th District and the Senate runoff will require a voter to check in twice. There will be one voter check-in line for the congressional runoff and a separate one for the state Senate.

“Voters are going to have to check in twice if they want to vote in both of them,” Barron said.

Confusion over the State Senate seat is not new. Some early voters for the Nov. 3 election said they were not told about the senate election and missed voting in it.

ExploreMore about the December runoff and a second one in January for U.S. Senate and PSC

Credit: WSBTV Videos

Georgia counties will need to certify election results before hand-recount begins

Credit: WSBTV Videos

More about State Senate District 39

District characteristics

Population: 181,664

Median income: $44,266

Median age: 31.5 years

Percent with a college degree: 41.5%

Percent Georgia natives: 50.1%

White: 24.1%

Black: 63.0%

Hispanic: 6.8%

Asian: 4.3%

Multi-race: 0.1%

Other race: 0.2%

From AJC Georgia Legislative Navigator

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