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Campaigns enter stretch run
Voter turnout focus of both sides
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Forsyth County News

Early voting

Voting continues this week for the Nov. 6. General Election at two locations, the Forsyth County Administration Building, 110 E. Main St., and Cumming City Hall, 100 Main St., both in downtown Cumming.

Hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The period known as advance voting will begin Oct. 29, expanding from the current locations to an addition three satellite sites: Hampton Park Library; Sharon Springs Park Community Building; and Midway Park Community Building.

For more information, call (770) 781-2118 or visit

With the three presidential debates finished, and less than two weeks remaining until the Nov. 6 election, both political parties are rallying behind their candidates.

Maria Albo, a professor with the North Georgia College & State University’s Department of Political Science and International Affairs, said it likely will be more of the same message from President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, in the days ahead.

“The candidates just need to stick with their basic platforms and keep doing what they’ve been doing,” she said. “I think there would just have to be some major upset on either side to really see anything crazy happen.

“I really think at this point, the race is really, really tight and it’s going to depend on how many voters are going to come out … and how the undecided voters are going to decide in some key battleground states.”

Georgia is not one of those states, whose ranks Albo said include Colorado, Florida, Nevada and North Carolina.

“The election is going to be decided by some key battleground states and in those battleground states, there are about 5 to 9 percent [of voters] who are undecided,” she said.

The key is getting out the vote, said Forsyth County Democratic Party Chairwoman Sharon Gunter.

“So many people think, ‘What’s the point of voting? Things are so bad,’” she said. “[Voters] need to get up and not be apathetic, to realize what the danger is and that his plan has got to move forward. We can’t afford to go sliding back.”

Forsyth County Republican Party Chairman Ethan Underwood agreed on the significance of voter turnout.

“At this point, it’s getting voters to the polls,” he said of the party’s goals going forward. “There are very few people at this stage in the game that don’t know who they’re voting for. So it’s just mobilization of voters and making sure they get to the polls.”

According to Albo, since both Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan fared well during their only debate, neither man likely made much of an impact. Each was strong on the issues and essentially kept the ball rolling for their respective parties.  

Gunter said she is aware a small percentage of voters could be making the decision between the two political tickets in the tight race. But she’s confident that people saw Obama’s debate performance and “will be influenced by the depth of his sincerity.”

“He came out and he was himself, he was rested and he roared like a lion,” she said of the second and third debates. “You could tell that he was the president of the United States and he was in control.”

Underwood saw a similar presence in his candidate.

“Romney is good on his feet and he comes across as very sincere,” he said. “He doesn’t give canned answers. He’s really thought these out and is really strong on his responses.”

Underwood said he believes Romney’s best point during the final two debates was his stance on the economy.

“Job losses are at a much higher rate than they were when the president first took office and I think Romney pounding the president on job losses and the economy is the right tactic,” he said.

Gunter countered that Obama’s responses on the economy have been consistent — slow and steady.

“We’ve been moving forward,” she said. “No one had any idea how far off the cliff we had fallen when he took over … and it’s amazing that we did not fall off into anther depression.”

In what little time remains, both parties will continue to encourage voters to head to the polls.

The candidates themselves likely will continue to campaign in the handful of states that could sway the election.

In the meantime, the election is in the latter part of a hurry up and wait strategy, Albo said.

“The candidates have already done everything they can to get the people to come out and vote,” she said. “Everything’s already been done to set that stage and it’s just going to be a matter of who comes out on that day.”