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Advance voting begins Monday
Years 4th election
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Forsyth County News
At a glance

Advance voting for the Aug. 10 runoff election begins Monday at the following locations:

Voter Registrations and Elections Office   
Forsyth County Administration Building
110 E. Main St., Suite 200
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Forsyth County Public Safety Complex    
3520 Settingdown Road
Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Midway Park
5100 Post Road
Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Cumming Public Library
585 Dahlonega Hwy.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The former Lakeland Community Church
(now county property)
2110 Sharon Road
Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Barbara Luth is hoping things will pick up this week during advance voting for the Aug. 10 runoff election.

“We’ve had a lot of people that have come to the office and tried to vote the early part of this week,” said Luth, the county’s elections supervisor. Early voting began Thursday.

“We’ve had a lot of people say that they’re going to be out of town on election day ... so they may come early and vote.”

Luth is predicting a 15 percent turnout for the runoff, as compared to the 23 percent of voters that cast a ballot during the July 20 primary.

If turnout is lower, Luth said the runoff could cost less.

While final tallies are still being made, Luth said it cost about $75,000 to hold the July primary in Forsyth County, as compared to about $50,000 predicted for the runoff.

“We don’t put the [same] number of people out at the polls,” she said of runoff elections. “We short staff and don’t have as many machines we have to do the testing on.”

Luth also noted the vote-by-district elections are costing more for paper ballots.

“What happens is you get in a catch-22 because you end up ... the less ballots you order, the more expensive they are,” she said. “They have to do all these plates that go with each precinct and it’s costing more to do it by precinct than it did in the past.

“I think it’s good to report absentee by district, but it does cost a little bit more.”

The elections for county commission and school board in July were the first to feature the new district-only format approved last year by the state.

The setup limited voting to residents of a particular district.

For example, only voters living in District 3 could vote for that district’s county commission post. Previously, candidates had to live in their district, but were elected countywide.

Because the state did not certify the July election results until Wednesday, early voting couldn’t start until Thursday.

With the shorter voting period, Luth ordered enough ballots to cover about 5 percent of the county’s 103,000 registered voters.

Paper ballots likely will be sent out Monday, but voters won’t have much time to return them. They’re due back about a week later.

Voters serving elsewhere in the military were sent a statewide absentee ballot for the runoff.

To vote in the District 3 county commission Republican runoff between incumbent Jim Harrell and Todd Levent, they would have to write in their candidate, Luth said.

Other Republican contests on the runoff ballot include: Nathan Deal and Karen Handel for the party’s gubernatorial nomination; Sam Olens and Preston W. Smith for attorney general; and Ralph Hudgens and Maria Sheffield for commissioner of insurance and safety fire.

Republican voters living in the 7th congressional district, which includes some of south Forsyth, can choose between Rob Woodall and Jody Hice to fill the U.S. House seat.

Tom Graves and Lee Hawkins will also be on the Republican ballot in a runoff for the U.S. District 9 House. It is their fourth meeting in about three months.

The two faced off in a June runoff from the May special election for the seat vacated by Deal.

Graves won the runoff and is serving out the remainder of the term, which ends this year. The winner of the Aug. 10 runoff will go on to serve a full term beginning January.

Democrats have fewer options in the runoff. Only the secretary of state’s contest between Gail Buckner and Georganna Sinkfield is on their ballot.

Any registered voter can participate in the runoff election, regardless of whether they voted during the primary, Luth said.

However, if they voted Republican in the primary, they can only vote Republican in the runoff and likewise for Democrats. Those who didn’t participate in the primary can choose either party.