Voting early in the Atlanta mayor's runoff election, I was surprised to find a fairly long line at the Northside Library Tuesday. The parking lot was so crowded that I had to pull my car into a space reserved for pregnant women, hoping I wouldn't get some kind of ticket or a stern lecture from Ms. Ratchett the librarian.
The late lunch hour crowd stood outside the room reserved for the library's monthly used book sale. The sunshine and brilliant blue sky made the wait pleasant. The mostly white crowd looked like Mary Norwood supporters. Informally dressed, they appeared to be technical workers of some sort, with a couple of housewives, one with an injured leg she rested upon a wheeled chair. No one offered to let her go to the front of the line. I didn't see any business suits or stylish dresses with formal heels.
As I waited for the voting volunteer to find my address, which often seems difficult, I noticed one of the sale books was a volume of Gore Vidal essays. I imagined old Gore making an acidic comment about this democratic exercise, and our present Caligula-like Trump era.
At another station, I received the computer card for the voting machine, and as I jammed it in the slot, wondered if the Russians could hack the election. Putin probably doesn't care too much about Atlanta politics, but who knew?
The library, known for its futuristic architecture and roof that leaks when it rains, sits on the edge of affluent Buckhead neighborhoods that support Norwood in her campaign against black candidate Keisha Lance Bottoms, endorsed by outgoing Mayor Kasim Reed.
The communities along West Paces Ferry and Northside Drive see Norwood's reputed Republican leaning as a plus. Hating Atlanta taxes, especially for the public schools when they send their kids to Pace, Lovett or Westminster, they are ready to reclaim the mayor's office for Northside white folks.
The line wasn't that long; I finished voting in about 10 minutes. But the Norwood-Bottoms contest appears stirring more excitement than the primary election with its long list of mayoral candidates.