Stone Mountain, GA — Local business owner Darryl Gresham is running as a write-in candidate for Stone Mountain mayor, but state and DeKalb County officials say he cannot legally serve in the position even if he gets the most votes.
Gresham launched his campaign in May by emphasizing the city’s economic development. But during the election qualifying period in August, he was hospitalized with COVID-19 and did not submit the required paperwork to get on the ballot or run as a write-in candidate.
Someone could have filed Gresham’s notice of candidacy on his behalf, according to City Manager ChaQuias Miller-Thornton.
Gresham said beating COVID-19 was his main focus at that time.
“But if I’m on my deathbed fighting for my life, I don’t think anybody’s going to be talking about qualifying for office,” Gresham told The Tucker Observer. “The most important thing is to live, to survive.”
Gresham said he’s going to ask the City of Stone Mountain and the Georgia Secretary of State’s office to reconsider letting him qualify based on the circumstances.
“I don’t know if there’s a petition pathway to get on the ballot, but I’m looking into every avenue possible and I’m going to ask the courts to look into the situation and allow me to be on the ballot or allow me to be a write-in candidate,” he said.
But the DeKalb County Voter Registration & Elections Board told the AJC that Gresham can’t win because he failed to qualify for either option. And if he did, it appears he wouldn’t legally be able to serve as mayor even if he received the most votes. The AJC notes that Gresham’s website is still accepting campaign donations.
There’s another complication for his mayoral bid: Gresham was convicted on five counts of felony bank robbery in 1994 and served about 10 years in federal prison. The state would need to grant him a restoration of his civil and political rights for him to be able to run for and hold public office. He declined to say whether he’s applied for that order.
A spokesperson for the Georgia State Board of Pardons & Paroles told The Tucker Observer that they have no record of Gresham’s rights being restored.
Patricia Wheeler is not running for reelection after serving as mayor off and on since the 1980s. She was defeated in 1997 and reelected in 2009. Beverly Jones, Andrea Redmond and Eileen Smith qualified for the race to replace her.
Gresham said he initially got the idea to run for Stone Mountain mayor after attending several city council meetings.
“There was no civic engagement whatsoever and it’s just my position that a local government should not be running without the input of the people,” he said. “The reason the people were not involved is because the city government just has stopped listening to them.”
Gresham said that the city needs to be more transparent.
“The people need to be heard, but there’s a small social circle in the city of Stone Mountain that’s still running this city,” he said. “They’re the old guard. They run the city of Stone Mountain the old way by doing favors for friends and colleagues.”
Gresham would address public safety issues in Stone Mountain by increasing the number and retention rate of police officers and having more community policing.
“We know that it works in small municipalities,” he said.
He also said the city engages in wasteful spending.
More information about voting in the Nov. 2 election:
Election Day is Nov. 2. Early voting will begin on Oct. 12 and will end on Oct. 29. The voter registration deadline is Oct. 4. To register to vote, click here.
To see a list of important dates in the 2021 election year, click here.
Voters in DeKalb County are eligible to apply for an absentee ballot as of Aug. 16.
To apply for an absentee ballot:
— Visit the Georgia Secretary of State website.
— Complete the absentee ballot application using the state’s official paper form. Use black or blue ink only.
Applications can be mailed to the county elections office at this address: DeKalb County Election office, 4380 Memorial Drive, Decatur, GA 30032-1239.
Applications can also be submitted by fax, 404-298-4038, or email, [email protected]
Voters may send an absentee ballot request for multiple people who live in the same household in the same envelope or email.
If an absentee ballot is not mailed to you, call DeKalb Elections office, 404-298-4020. You may still vote in person, either early or on Election Day.
In accordance with SB202, a new voting bill signed by Gov. Brian Kemp in March, a copy of a voter’s ID is required to apply for an absentee ballot. A Georgia driver’s license, Georgia state ID, Georgia voter card, U.S. Passport, U.S. military ID, employee ID issued by any branch of the federal or state government, tribal ID, or a document verifying a voter’s name and address – including a paycheck, utility bill, or bank statement – are accepted forms of ID.
Early voting begins Oct. 12 and ends Oct. 29. The hours for early voting are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will also be weekend early voting on Oct. 16, 17, 23 and 24. Call your elections office for hours.
Beginning Oct. 12, you can participate in early voting at the following locations:
– Bessie Branham Recreation Center (2051 Delano Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30317)
– Lynwood Recreation Center (3360 Osborne Road NE, Brookhaven, GA 30319)
– Berean Christian Church – Family Life Center (2197 Young Road, Stone Mountain, GA 30088)
– DeKalb Voter Registration & Elections Office (4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 300, Decatur, GA 30032)
– Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library (5234 LaVista Road, Tucker, GA 30084)
– Stonecrest Library (3123 Klondike Road, Stonecrest, GA 30038)
– County Line-Ellenwood Library (4331 River Road, Ellenwood, GA 30294)
– Dunwoody Library (5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road., Dunwoody, GA 30338)
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