COBB COUNTY, Ga. (AP) — Voters in an affluent suburban Atlanta county rejected ballot measures that would have turned three mostly white areas into their own cities.
The three cities would have wrested key decision-making power from Cobb County, where the election of three Black women in 2020 gave Democrats control of the county commission for the first time in decades.
Proponents of the cityhood measures said local residents needed adequate representation and greater control over development. Some critics saw race as a driving factor in Tuesday's referendums to create the cities of East Cobb, Vinings and Lost Mountain.
All three efforts failed decisively, according to unofficial results from the Georgia Secretary of State's office.
Lisa Cupid, chairwoman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, told the Marietta Daily Journal that the vote “speaks for itself.”
But she added, "We have the opportunity to take the concerns and desired services into consideration as we lead our county and make it a place inclusive of all.”
Georgia’s Republican-controlled state Legislature had passed bills authorizing the three referendums, which were opposed by many Democrats.
Cobb County — home to the Atlanta Braves’ stadium — lies about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Atlanta and is one of the most populous counties in the state, with more than 760,000 residents stretching over 340 square miles (880 square kilometers).
Supporters of the cityhood measures said the county’s population had grown too much to be adequately represented by a five-member county commission. They also argued that they wanted to preserve the suburban character of their areas, which they said was under attack by county officials intent on urbanization.
The three cities would have each taken over planning and zoning, code enforcement and parks and recreation from the county. East Cobb would have also created its own police and fire departments.