Source: NorthFulton.com

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Mayors speak after deputy registrars sworn in
State their support for more voters

by Matthew Quinn

January 20, 2012

Sam Westmoreland, interim director of the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections, introduced the mayors of the North Fulton cities, who spoke after the Jan. 11 training session on how to become deputy registrars.MATTHEW W. QUINN/Staff.
ALPHARETTA, Ga. — After the new deputy registrars were sworn in, the mayors of five of the six North Fulton cities gave their blessing to the proceedings.

"I've looked at the number of voters that have been voting in any given election and I've been frustrated," said Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker.

With few exceptions, apathy wins every election. He said even in the case of the vote to incorporate Johns Creek, only 48 percent of the people voted. This means 52 percent of the people did not.

"Forty-eight percent is a miracle," Bodker said. "It's usually much, much lower than that."

He said if more people vote, he is confident they'll make a better decision. Furthermore, the citizens of North Fulton have hurt their own cause because they do not vote in large enough numbers.

Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood said he was proud to see all six cities of North Fulton getting together for a good cause. He described how only a small percentage of registered voters vote, and there are many who are not registered at all.

"We need everybody's vote, no matter how they vote," he said.

Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle, who had only been serving for eight days, spoke next.

"We know we're going to have to register people here if we're going to have a voice," he said.

It's not enough to take a position; one has to work in order to get one's voice heard. He said Alpharetta will support the voter registration program any way it can.

Mayor Joe Still of Mountain Park said they took voting very seriously in Mountain Park. The city is small enough that talking to one's neighbors about voting can make a difference.

"I like to begin every campaign with a challenge, and I challenge Mountain Park to register more voters than Roswell," said Roswell Mayor Jere Wood.

He suggested making bets with other cities as well. He said he's a betting man and Roswell usually wins.

He then turned serious. He said citizenship begins with voting and until residents vote, they are not really citizens of where they live.

"You are the door to people becoming citizens," he told the deputy registrars.

Mayor Eva Galambos of Sandy Springs was unable to attend the workshop. However, Fulton County Registration and Elections Interim Director Samuel Westmoreland told the registrars that Galambos and her husband had undergone training to be deputy registrars.

"She is a foot soldier in the movement with you," he said.