Mableton city council candidate drops out of race as early voting begins

Dickens is at least the fourth candidate to drop from the race for one reason or another.
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 11:25 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 1, 2023 at 8:24 AM EST
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MABLETON, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Cobb County election officials are scrambling to notify Mableton voters that a candidate running for city council has dropped out of the race.

Cobb elections officials confirmed that Ricky Dickens, a candidate for Mableton City Council District 6, notified their office Monday morning that he was withdrawing from the race. This happened on the same day that early voting began.

Dickens is at least the fourth candidate who’s either withdrawn from the city’s inaugural municipal election or been disqualified.

RELATED: Advance voting underway for the new city of Mableton

Cobb County Communications Director Ross Cavitt says two other candidates, Paul Chukelu and Henry Okafor, were disqualified for Mayor when their qualifying fee checks bounced.

RELATED: Two Mableton candidates removed from municipal ballot over bounced checks

Charles Ford also qualified for Mayor but dropped out of the race at the beginning of February.

It’s too late to remove Dickens from the ballot. Cobb elections officials have posted signage at polling precincts to let voters know any votes for Dickens will not be counted.

“The county played no role in the formulation of the city, of the studies, or anything like that. So we with Cobb County are holding the election because we have to by state law. But then we’re like everybody else in Mableton, we’re watching to see what develops after that,” Cavitt said.

Voters approved a referendum last November to make Mableton into its own city, which will now be the county’s largest with approximately 75,000 residents.

The city boundaries will include all of Mableton and the unincorporated parts of Smyrna and Austell.

Long-time Mableton resident Cynthia Smith says she voted against the cityhood referendum, but she showed up anyway on Monday to vote for the city’s future leaders.

“I’ve been in Mableton for 33 or 34 years and I voted no. However, it passed and as a long-time resident of Mableton, I’ll do whatever I can. I raised four kids here, buried two kids here. So this is my home and I’m going to do whatever I can do to make it a better place,” Smith said.

The city of Mableton will hold a virtual forum for mayor and city council candidates and the public will be able to ask the candidates direct questions. It will be held Wednesday, March 1 at 6 p.m. To register, click here.

Early voting runs through March 17 and the municipal election takes place on March 21.

To see a sample ballot, click HERE.

For more information on polling places, click HERE.

To learn more about the Mayoral and City Council candidates, click HERE.