By Zoe Seiler, contributor
DeKalb County, GA –Voters took to the polls again on Tuesday, Jan. 5, to cast ballots in the runoff elections for both U.S. Senate seats and a position on the state’s Public Service Commission.
Lines and wait times were short on Election Day although turnout was seemingly high in DeKalb County throughout the first half of the day with some polling places trending toward an increase in voters compared to the presidential election in November.
Polls close at 7 p.m.
“It was easy and flawless and the poll workers were professional and gracious,” said Decatur resident Jonathan Block who voted at the Decatur Recreation Center.
Block, the former assistant press secretary for First Lady Laura Bush, was a “tried and true Rrepublican, but no more” and voted straight ticket Democrat in every race this year. He has never voted straight ticket, not even Republican.
“I wanted to send a really strong message that I will not tolerate this kind of unethical, despicable behavior that threatens the core of our democracy,” Block said.
Another woman walking by said the same thing adding that her parents were delegates at the Republican National Convention and Newt Gringrich was a family friend growing up.
“Not anymore,” she said. “I’m not willing to sell my soul for ethics and morals.”
“Not a damn chance,” Block added. “Country over party.”
About 75 votes had been cast at Legacy Park as of 12:50 p.m. at a location that saw just 80 voters on Nov. 3, 2020.
Oakhurst Baptist Church saw 127 voters as of 1:15 p.m. while the total votes on Nov. 3, was about 145.
A poll manager at Clarkston First Baptist Church said over 100 votes had been cast at the church as of 10 a.m.
On Nov. 3, there were about 70 people lined up first thing in the morning, Aimee Ahmed previously told Decaturish. Ahmed was a line warmer at Clarkston First Baptist Church during the general election.
Decaturish reporters noticed some confusion about where people should go vote but did not notice any major issues throughout the day.
There was also some confusion in Brookhaven as the Briarwood Recreation Center was a polling location in November but is currently closed for construction. County officials said they sent a letter to residents telling them to go to the Lynwood Recreation Center but voters still arrived at Briarwood,Decaturish reported.
At the Tucker Reid H. Cofer Library some voters had to go to a different location. Joel Grant said he voted early at the library during the presidential election and didn’t realize his polling place was different for election day.
Tucker resident Linda Magnusson voted at the library and said the process was easy and she didn’t have to wait in line. She came out on Election Day to be able to see her vote go through the machine and make sure it was counted she said.
In Clarkston, Traci Kendricks brought her son Antonio, 19, with her to vote as it was his first time casting a ballot. The pair voted at Clarkston First Baptist Church.
“Hopefully that made a change in things,” Antonio said.
Kendricks, who grew up in the Clarkston First Baptist Church, cast her ballot to hopefully see a better living wage and better living conditions.
“It used to be where we felt like we were part of something, but we just don’t no more,” she said. “It just feels like we’re working just to make it so we kind of want some of those issues changed.”
Justice was another important issue for voters like Clarkston resident Nika Purdue, as well as using and protecting people’s right to vote.
“My ancestors fought for a long time for us to have a right to vote so being able to come out and vote is to me number one,” Purdue said.
“Secondly, just as far as being the land of the free. What I mean by that is being able to come and go as we please, and everybody is being treated equally, differently but equally,” she added.
Voters were also flowing into Avondale Estates City Hall Tuesday morning and were able to vote quickly.
Avondale resident Allison Grahovec said she always votes at City Hall and they have a good process. She came out on Election Day to make sure her voice was heard.
“To me, I just think it’s having a balance in our government. I think having one side this way and one side another way, too much of that is probably not always a good thing,” Grahovec said. “So just making sure that we’re balanced.”
Mary Ann Anziano, another Avondale resident, said that voting on Election Day feels patriotic for her. She and her husband, Joe, also like to see people at the polls.
“We don’t do absentee purposely, even if the lines are long sometimes, because we want to engage with the people who are in the lines, not to talk politics but to see our neighbors,” Joe said.
Polls for the runoff election close at 7 p.m. and absentee ballots must also be turned in by that time today.
Here are more photos taken at polling places during the Jan. 5 runoff election…