About 2,500 registered voters who will become city of Atlanta residents if Emory University’s annexation is approved this month can vote in the city’s Nov. 7 election for mayor and city council, according to election officials.
DeKalb County Interim Elections Director Erica Hamilton said even though the voter registration deadline was Tuesday, newly annexed voters can participate in municipal elections. She had said last week those voters would be ineligible but changed course after city of Atlanta attorneys cited a state law allowing them to cast ballots.
The Atlanta City Council could vote Monday to approve the incorporation of a 1.14-square-mile area that includes Emory, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. It would be the city’s largest expansion since adding Buckhead in 1952.
“We’re going to do everything we can to let those people vote for their elected officials,” Hamilton said.
The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office confirmed that voters in the annexed area would be included in the election.
“We certainly see no legal impediment to participation in the upcoming municipal election,” said Chris Harvey, the state’s elections director.
Hamilton said she’ll work to make ballots available for new Atlanta voters in time for the election.
The city’s eastward expansion into DeKalb would change the city’s demographics.
In all, there are 6,376 residents in the annexation area, according to the DeKalb County Geographic Information System Department. They would be added to the city’s 2016 population of 472,522 if the area’s incorporation passes.
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Many are students, with 64 percent of residents between the ages of 15 and 24, according to the county.
The total population of the annexation area is 63 percent white, 22 percent Asian and 11 percent black, according to the county’s estimates for 2017.
By comparison, the city’s existing voting-age population was 49 percent black and 44 percent white, according to U.S. Census data for 2015, the most recent year available.
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