(ATLANTA, Ga.) Atlanta voters are set to cast their ballots for the city’s next mayor on Tuesday morning.
Candidates Felicia Moore and Andre Dickens both advanced through the general election on Nov. 2 – Moore received 41% of the vote followed by Dickens with 23%. After a series of debates, campaigning and town halls, the two are on the ballot to become the 61st mayor of Atlanta.
The 61st mayor will have to address increased violent crime, scarce affordable housing, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the movement for Buckhead to become its own city.
Crime has been a key issue in the race, with both candidates emphasizing their stances amid an uptick in murders in the city. According to data released by the Atlanta Police Department, homicides in the city increased from 99 in 2019 to 157 in 2020, a 62% increase and the highest number in the city in more than twenty years.
In a press conference, Moore unveiled a plan to tackle the "prison-to-pipeline" epidemic amongst young boys and to expand community policing and interaction with local activists. Dickens unveiled his 4-point plan to reduce crime throughout the city which includes coordinating and investing new federal resources in additional officers forming partnerships with groups that can help city officials identify, arrest and detain dangerous criminals.
Residents have also expressed concern over issues like transportation, neighborhood zoning, infrastructure, transit issues as well as the future of the city jail – all topics the next mayor will have to confront head-on.
The election cycle began earnestly as Moore entered the race against current Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Bottoms initially sought reelection this year with a six-figure campaign to back her up, however, she ended her bid in May which then brought on 14 additional contenders vying for the position. Out of the candidates, former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed threw his hat in the ring for reelection.
In addition to pressing topics like crime and rezoning, Atlanta voters will vote on several City Council seats, including the City Council president. Likewise, there will be runoff elections for school boards and other offices in metro Atlanta including Fulton County, DeKalb County and Cobb County.