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Election roundup: Nail-biter for governor, Atlanta taxes, and victorious brunch booze

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Some outcomes were more decisive than Georgia’s closely watched gubernatorial contest

Familiar peach stickers were distributed in record numbers Tuesday.
Familiar peach stickers were distributed in record numbers Tuesday.
AFP/Getty Images, TAMI CHAPPELL / Stringer

Georgia’s historic governor’s race remains up in the air long after metro Atlanta polls closed Tuesday night, with Republican Brian Kemp holding a hair’s-breadth advantage over Democrat Stacey Abrams, whose camp is pulling for a runoff

Should neither candidate score more than 50 percent of the vote, including ballots for the Libertarian challenger Ted Metz, expect a runoff election December 4—and weeks of thunderous campaigning in the interim.

As of noon, the AJC reports the gap to force a Kemp-Abrams December showdown has shrunk to as few as 32,000 votes, with absentee and provisional ballots still being counted.

Other Election Day outcomes of interest to Atlantans were more decisive Tuesday.

Abrams and Kemp give late-night election party speeches, following initial vote tallies.
Getty Images
Getty Images

Amendment 5

A statewide proposal that would impact Atlantans, allowing some homeowners to pay less in school taxes, while some residents—those with lesser-valued homes—would have to start paying school taxes, passed with flying colors Tuesday.

With all precincts reporting, more than 70 percent of Georgians voted for the Amendment 5 School Tax Referenda, per Associated Press tallies.

Currently, Atlanta school district residents don’t have to pay taxes on $30,000 of their home’s assessed value.

Following the amendment’s passage, however, homeowners would have to pay school taxes for the first $10,000 of assessed value, meaning thousands of homeowners would have to start paying a new tax.

The measure also bumps the tax exemption up from $30,000 to $50,000, which means some homeowners with higher-value properties should see tax bills go down.

Referendum A

Ballot Pedia

Another measure, Referendum A, that observers said could give breaks to long-planted Atlanta homeowners but adversely impact renters, also passed—but more narrowly.

The proposed tax changes were meant to compensate for years of improper home valuations during assessments.

Because Atlanta is part of multiple counties—Fulton and DeKalb—all Georgia voters were able to weigh in on the measure that will limit the property value increases for owner-occupied homes.

Brunch booze

AP

Brunch-crazy Atlantans can rejoice. In the near future, restaurants mustn’t wait until 12:30 p.m. to start dishing the bubbles and bloodies on the Sabbath.

Ditto for Avondale Estates, the City of Alpharetta, Roswell, Hapeville, Johns Creek, and others.

Dubbed the “brunch bill” or the “mimosa mandate,” the measure bumps up Sunday alcohol sales to 11 a.m. at restaurants.

It passed by 75 percent in Atlanta (Fulton) and by wide margins virtually everywhere else.

Outdoors preservation

Good news for stewards of Georgia’s great outdoors.

The first constitutional amendment listed on Tuesday ballots, called the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment, asked Georgians if a portion of revenue collected from outdoor recreation equipment sales should be channeled toward land conservation.

It passed by a resounding 83 percent.

Agencies who’ve vocally supported the measure include The Conservation Fund, Georgia Conservancy, Georgia Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Park Pride, and The Trust for Public Land. It could produce about $20 million annually over the next decade for Georgia conservation efforts, supporters say.

It was one of five amendments on statewide ballots. All of them easily passed.