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Early voting period under way

POSTED: October 14, 2012 12:34 a.m.
 

Forsyth County election officials and volunteers will be ready Monday morning as early voting for the Nov. 6 General Election begins.

“I’m looking forward to a big crowd,” said Elections Supervisor Barbara Luth. “A lot of people have already been coming in wanting to vote early. We’ve had to tell them to come back.”

There is a lot of anticipation for the election, Luth said. That’s why the ranks of registered voters in the county has increased so quickly in recent months.

While requests are still being entered, Mandi Smith with the elections office said more than 114,300 people are registered to vote in the county.

Tuesday was the last day to sign up, but Smith said requests that were postmarked on time are trickling in.

Luth said she anticipates about 40 percent of the voters will cast a ballot during early and advance voting, with overall turnout for the election as high as 80 percent.

“People are just really interested,” she said.

The ballot includes the presidential race between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, as well as congressional races and a referendum on charter schools in Georgia.

Casting a ballot prior to Nov. 6 has been made easier as the local elections office has expanded its early voting locations to include Cumming City Hall.

“We wanted to make it as easy as we can for people,” Luth said. “We felt there was an interest out there, and there was going to be quite a crowd, so we wanted to make it as convenient for the voters as we could, and we knew we could manage two places in town.”

City hall joins the Forsyth County Administration Building as early voting sites.

Officials decided not to add a location in either the north or south end of the county to be fair to the other region, since the office couldn’t afford both.

“By keeping it in the middle of town, it was the same distance to everybody,” Luth said.

Each location will start with six machines, she said, though more can be added if need be.

According to Luth, the election will cost about $200,000 to hold.

The July 31 primary, including an August runoff, totaled about $160,000. She said that was due largely to the need for three different ballots for the Democratic, Republican and non-partisan voters, as well as the larger ballot size required to include all the local races.

So while more voters are expected to participate in this election, Luth said the shorter ballots have helped keep costs down.

 

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