ATLANTA (AP) — Exactly how tight was Atlanta's still too-close-to-call mayoral election? Expect an official answer next week.
Election officials in Fulton and Dekalb counties have scheduled meetings Monday to certify their official vote tallies from the runoff election between Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood. Unofficial returns showed Bottoms barely ahead by a margin of 759 votes.
The Tuesday runoff between Bottoms, who is black, and Mary Norwood, who is white, split Atlanta along racial lines after a campaign punctuated by political grudges and allegations of corruption, and a turnout of less than 20 percent of the city's roughly 500,000 residents.
Bottoms led the unofficial results with 46,464 votes, or 50.41 percent, to Norwood's 45,705 votes, or 49.59 percent. If Monday's certified results confirm a margin of less than 1 percent of the overall vote, Norwood could request a recount within 48 hours. Election officials would have recount results by the end of next week, Fulton County spokeswoman April Majors said.
A victory for Bottoms would give Atlanta its sixth consecutive black mayor since Maynard Jackson was elected to the office in 1973. An upset by Norwood would end the Democratic Party's hold on the office that dates back to 1879.
For Norwood, the runoff outcome virtually mirrored her 2009 loss to Mayor Kasim Reed by a mere 714 votes. The recount Norwood requested in that election ultimately produced only one additional vote.