Fulton County is a county located in the north-central part of the United States, bordered by the Chattahoochee River and known for its elongated shape. In 1932, Milton County was annexed to Fulton County, resulting in its current shape. This influx of people from different backgrounds and cultures has had a major impact on the county's politics. Fulton County is governed by a seven-member board of commissioners, elected from single-member districts.
The chairman of the Board of Commissioners is elected to office throughout the county, while the vice-president is elected by his peers once a year. In 1992, Fulton County elected Jacquelyn Harrison Barrett as its first African-American woman sheriff in United States history. The county has a total area of 534 square miles (1,380 km), of which 527 square miles (1,360 km) is land and 7.7 square miles (20 km) (1.4%) is water. Nearly all major highways and all major interstate highways in the Atlanta metropolitan area pass through Fulton County.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport extends on both sides of the border with Clayton County to the south and is the busiest airport in the world. The Atlanta-Fulton County library system began in 1902 as the Carnegie Library in Atlanta, one of the first public libraries in the United States. In 1935, the City of Atlanta and the Fulton County Board of Commissioners signed a contract under which library service was extended to all of Fulton County. On July 1, 1983, responsibility for the library system was transferred from the city of Atlanta to Fulton County and it was renamed as such. In 2002, after one hundred years of library service to the public, a major renovation of the Central Library was completed. QuickFacts provides statistics for all states and counties, and for cities and towns with a population of 5,000 or more.
Four cities include land outside Fulton County (Atlanta, College Park, Palmetto and Mountain Park), but they still have their government center and most of their land within Fulton County. Fulton County has voted for Democrats in every presidential election since 1876, except for those in 1928 and 1972 when George McGovern failed to win a single county in Georgia. Georgia elections were governed by a system of county units until 1962 which gave more weight to rural votes than urban votes. This system allowed rural counties to control Georgia's elections by minimizing the impact of growing urban centers like Atlanta. In 1962 Bell led a judicial panel that ruled that Georgia's county unit voting system violated the one-man one-vote principle. During this session when asked to identify what Fulton County needed to cut from its budget, state representative Bessie Kempton Crowell proposed that women be allowed to vote in Georgia elections. This proposal was accepted and with it women took their first step towards political parity in Georgia.
In addition to her shared appointment as Georgia's first female legislator she was also the first female lawyer to present arguments before both Georgia's Court of Appeals and Supreme Court as well as being the first woman to obtain a pardon for a convicted client before Georgia's governor. The population growth in Fulton County has had an immense impact on its politics over time. The influx of people from different backgrounds and cultures has shaped how elections are conducted and how decisions are made at all levels of government. The county unit voting system that was used until 1962 gave more weight to rural votes than urban votes, allowing rural counties to control Georgia's elections by minimizing the impact of growing urban centers like Atlanta. The proposal by state representative Bessie Kempton Crowell that women be allowed to vote in Georgia elections was accepted and with it women took their first step towards political parity in Georgia.