DEKALB COUNTY — DeKalb County residents will find a long list of candidates and questions on their June 9 ballot.

Ballots will look different depending on one’s political party and whether one voted early in the race originally scheduled for March 12 before it was delayed.

For those who have not yet voted in the state’s presidential primary, President Donald Trump will be the only candidate on the Republican ticket, while 12 candidates will appear on Democrats ballots.

These ballots will also include two opportunities to vote for DeKalb County Sheriff. One is a special election to fill the unexpired term of Jeffrey Mann, who resigned last November. Chief Deputy Sherriff Melody Maddox was appointed to fill the seat in the interim but must compete against eight other candidates to serve through the end of the year.

The candidates are:

Additionally, voters will see a primary race to determine who will run for a full term as sheriff this November. Dennis is the only candidate on the Republican ticket. Champion, Gardner, Golden, Johnson, Jones, Maddox, Mobley and Stringer will all appear on Democrats’ ballots.

 

DeKalb Board of Education

Two candidates are competing in the nonpartisan race to represent District 1, which includes Dunwoody, on the Board of Education. Anna Hill (annahill.org), a certified public accountant, says a vote for her is a vote for fiscal responsibility and transparency.

Andrew Ziffer (andrewziffer.com) has a background in information technology and real estate, and says his priorities are addressing school overcrowding and deferred facility maintenance.

 

DeKalb Board of Commissioners

Dunwoody residents will be able to vote on two commissioner seats this election cycle. For District 1, there will be a Democratic primary to decide who will challenge Incumbent Commissioner Nancy Jester (nancyjester.com), the only Republican running for the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners this election.

Those candidates are:

• MD Naser (D), sheriff officer, nasermd.com

• Robert Patrick (D), Doraville City Councilman, voterobertpatrick.com

• Ben Truman (D), political consultant, benfordekalb.com

• Cynthia Yaxon (D), writer, cynthiayaxondekalbcountycommissioner2020.com

For District 6, a super district that covers the western half of the county, Commissioner Kathie Gannon will not seek reelection. Three candidates are running for the seat, all Democrats:

• Maryam Ahmad (D), public health data analyst

• Emily Halevy (D), digital media executive, emilyfordekalb.com

• Ted Terry (D), former Clarkston mayor, tedfordekalb.com

DeKalb Tax Commissioner

Another race with only Democrats on the ticket is for county tax commissioner. Incumbent Irvin Johnson (irvinfordekalb.com) is being challenged by social worker Roslyn McCaskill (roslynmccaskill4dekalb.com).

Georgia General Assembly

Dunwoody residents will not see contested primaries for either the state house or state senate.

For SenateDistrict 40, which encompasses Dunwoody as well as other portions of DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties, Republican Garry Guan will challenge incumbent Democrat State Sen. Sally Harrel.

For HouseDistrict 79, which includes most of Dunwoody and parts of Doraville and Chamblee, incumbent Democrat State Rep. Mike Wilensky will face Andrea Johnson this fall.

U.S. Congress

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath will be the candidate for Democrats in the 6th congressional district. Republicans will have their choice of five candidates to replace her: Mykel Barthelemy; Karen Handel, who held the seat before McBath unseated her in 2018; Blake Harbin; Joe Profit; and Paulette Smith.

It’s the opposite story in the Senate. Incumbent Sen. David Perdue is uncontested on the Republican ticket.

Several Democratic candidates are competing to challenge him in the fall: Sarah Riggs Amico, Marckeith DeJesus, James Knox, Tricia Carpenter McCracken, Jon Ossoff, Maya Dillard Smith and Teresa Pike Tomlinson.

One candidate, Shane Hazel, is running as a Libertarian.

For the seat occupied by Sen. Kelly Loeffler, there will be no vote on June 9. Instead, a nonpartisan primary will be held Nov. 3. There are 21 candidates who qualified for the race — six Republicans, eight Democrats, four independents and one Libertarian, one from the Green Party and one write-in.

All candidates will appear on the same ballot, and if no candidate receives a majority, there will be a runoff between the top two finishers on Jan. 5, 2021.

Party questions

DeKalb Republicans will see three additional yes-or-no questions on their ballots. The first will ask about allowing state education dollars to follow students if they choose an alternative to public schools, such as private school or homeschooling.

Proponents of school choice programs generally argue it empowers parents to choose the best education option for their child and encourages innovative programs. Opponents say these programs take funding away from already strained public schools and violate the separation of church and state.

The second question will ask whether the primary should be limited to registered Republicans, and the third asks whether Board of Education candidates should be required to declare their political party.

Democrats’ ballots will include six questions, regarding climate change, plastic pollution, Election Day voter registration, redistricting reform, eliminating cash bail and voting rights for former inmates.

The redistricting question is particularly salient this year, as the state representatives and senators elected this November will draw the congressional districts that will be in place for the next 10 years.

Drawing districts to benefit one political party over another, known as gerrymandering, has recently come under increased scrutiny. Opponents of gerrymandering argue the practice leads to political polarization and representation that does not reflect the will of the people.

Defenders of gerrymandering often point out that it has been practiced for centuries by both parties. They may argue that other factors like partisan media or self-sorting are more to blame for America’s political polarization, or that it’s impossible to create a truly nonpartisan redistricting process.

Carson Cook is an Editor with Appen Media Group and covers Johns Creek, Dunwoody and Fulton County.

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