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Advance voting for Nov. 8 election brings in crowds in Forsyth

After one week, advance voting for the Nov. 8 general election is off to a sprint in Forsyth County.

As of Friday, 17,692 Forsyth County voters have cast ballots at five advance voting locations – more than the total of 8,505 who voted in advanced for the local primaries in May and 13,471 who did so in March for the presidential primaries.

“I’m really happy with the numbers,” said Barbara Luth, the county’s supervisor of voter registrations and elections.

Luth said the number of voters “always” increases in years with a presidential election and that she expected a big turnout from the county’s 138,833 active and inactive votes. The county’s population is 212,438, according to 2015 U.S. Census data.

“We expect that over 50 percent of the people who will come and vote will vote early voting,” Luth said. “We expect that we’ll have all-total with absentee maillot, in-person voting for early and also with Election Day to be over 80 percent in our county.”

For the 2012 presidential election, 41,930 in Forsyth County cast advance ballots. According to the 2010 Census data, the population was 175, 511.

Luth said she thinks advance voting is popular due to voters wanting to skip perceived long lines.

“Because they feel there’s more time to go to the polls, a lot of people like the Saturday and the late hours,” Luth said. “Also, it lets them feel that they don’t have to wait in line … that they feel the lines at the poll will be longer because they’re only at one place.”

Advance voting is held at the Forsyth County administration building, Cumming City Hall, Hampton Park Library and the community buildings of Sharon Springs and Midway parks. All polls are open to all voters for advance voting.

For all locations except the administration building, voting hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. for weekdays the coming week and 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29 and the week of Oct. 31- Nov. 4.

For the first week of voting, the most popular polling place was Sharon Springs Park with 5,397 voters, and the busiest day was Friday with 4,147 voters.

Luth said there have been no major issues in the first week, but more machines will likely be added for the final week of early voting.

Luth also recommended that voters read their ballot before coming in to vote to cut down on confusion and voting time, which she said has not been an issue.

“I will still say read the referendums before you go on election day or before you early vote,” she said, “but most people have and we have plenty of sample ballots at the polls. I don’t think anyone has waited more than 15 minutes in line.”