New city Mableton one week out from historic first election
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Mableton is just a week away from a historic election – their first as a new city. Voters will be asked to pick a new mayor and six members of the new city council.
The road to cityhood was paved with contention from the very start. Voters approved a split from Cobb County in the November 2022 election, wanting more autonomy over zoning and development in the Mableton area.
But since becoming a new city, candidates for leadership roles have dropped out or become embroiled in controversy.
The official vote won’t take place until Tuesday, March 21st but advance voting began last month. Although turnout has been relatively low for early voting – just a few thousand people so far – people on both sides of the issue resoundingly agree that the elections are an important step in the process.
“Since we have to and it’s been approved for cityhood, then we want to make sure to get out and vote for people who are interested in the development of Mableton and that it’ll be done in the correct way,” said Roy Wilcox, a voter who spoke to Atlanta News First after casting his early ballot on Tuesday at the Mable House Complex. “It is a city, it’s already been developed and we’re in the process of having to have leaders for the city, so I want people to go ahead and get out and vote.”
Right off the bat, there was confusion over the boundaries of the new city, and who would become part of it or remain attached to Cobb County. Proponents of cityhood say the information was made widely available in multiple public meetings and online, but some still feel the implications of the November vote could’ve been clearer.
“There were people that voted that shouldn’t have voted, there were people that should’ve voted that didn’t even know they were supposed to vote,” said Murphy Sweetland, alongside his wife Charlotte as the two cast their early vote on Tuesday. “It’s kind of a fluid situation. I know turnouts have been low and people are confused.”
On Tuesday, state Representative David Wilkerson, who represents parts of Cobb County, told Atlanta News First that the county sent out letters to everyone who would be included in the new city of Mableton. Upon the vote’s passing, the unincorporated area grew from a population of around 40,000 to a city of around 78,000 including added parts of Austell and Smyrna.
People in favor of cityhood say they were tired of being ignored by the county on issues like development and public works.
Voters like Murphy and Charlotte Sweetland say it’s the position they’re in, so they might as well make the most of their voices at the ballot box.
“My theory is you cannot complain if you don’t vote,” said Charlotte. “If this thing becomes real, which it clearly is already, just make your voice heard.”
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