This story has been updated.
Clarkston, GA — Early voting is underway in the special election to fill Yterenickia “YT” Bell’s seat on the Clarkston City Council. The seat became vacant when Bell stepped down to run for mayor.
Early voting began on Monday, Feb. 22, and ends on Friday, March 12. Election Day is Tuesday, March 16.
So far only three ballots have been cast as of about 4:05 p.m. on March 1, according to the DeKalb Voter Registration and Elections Office. The county added that it is normal to see low voter turnout during early voting for a local special election.
It is crucial for residents to vote during this election, Mayor Beverly Burks said.
“Residents can vote for the [vacant] City Council seat and make sure they have representation,” Burks said. “For the next year-plus, the city is working on updating the comprehensive plan, the zoning rewrite, and other development projects. I encourage residents to have their voices heard and vote this March 16.”
Voters can fill out ballots during the early voting period at the DeKalb Voter Registration and Elections Office in Decatur, 4380 Memorial Drive, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
All absentee ballots for this election must be mailed or dropped off at the DeKalb Voter Registration and Elections Office by Tuesday, March 16, by 7 p.m. Drop boxes are not available during this election, according to DeKalb VRE.
“We were notified by the Georgia Secretary of State that the emergency measure allowing us to use drop boxes and open absentee ballots early has expired,” DeKalb VRE Director Erica Hamilton said in a press release. “We have locked all drop boxes and placed announcements to remind voters they can mail in an absentee ballot or return an absentee to our office on Memorial Drive.”
The three candidates are Shana “Tiny” McAllister, Dean Moore and Mark Perkins.
McAllister is running for the City Council largely because she loves the city and wants to be part of Clarkston’s growth.
Her top issues of importance are affordable housing, green space development and beautification efforts.
Another big focus for McAllister is educating the public on how to properly recycle.
“I want to educate the public on proper recycling procedures and maybe work with the waste management companies to find out what do we need to tell the public, what do we need to tell people so they’re doing their part of the bargain correctly,” McAllister previously told the Tucker Observer.
Dean Moore previously served on the City Council from 2010 to 2017, when he did not win reelection. He is running again to continue his involvement in the city and help it thrive.
His top local issues are the zoning code rewrite, the comprehensive plan update and ensuring smart development.
“We’ve still got some more projects coming up funded by the SPLOST, we’ve got the zoning issue, the comprehensive plan,” Moore previously told the Tucker Observer. “We’re basically writing out the future and getting our documents together for that. If I can do that once again I’ll be happy about my term and things I’ve done here.”
Mark Perkins hopes to move the city toward a more collaborative political spirit that benefits the community. The core value of his campaign is moving people together, utilizing knowledgeable people and having conversations.
Perkins’ main concern is the coronavirus pandemic. Other issues that are important to Perkins are continuing the Clarkston Police Department’s cultural sensitivity work, protecting small businesses and helping renters.
“I’d love to see that almost become an example for other communities as diverse as ours, of how community policing can work, and how those conversations and being culturally sensitive and some of those things,” Perkins previously told the Tucker Observer.
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