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Early voting for June 16 special election enters second week in Forsyth

FORSYTH COUNTY — The first week of advance voting for two local elections, started slow, but is expected to pick up.

Starting on Tuesday, local residents could vote early for vacant seats in both state House District 24 and Cumming City Council Post 1. Perhaps due to high school graduations and Memorial Day, the first week of voting started out a bit weak.

“The total for the administration building this week is 92. The total for city hall for this week is 98. That makes the grand total for this week 190,” said county Elections Supervisor Mandi Smith. “The first week of early voting has been fairly comparable in both locations, no major hiccups, turnout is pretty light so far, based on the total.”

Voting was held from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at Cumming City Hall and the Forsyth County Administration for the first week of advance voting, and will follow suit next week.

June 6 will be the only Saturday voting, and will be open at city hall, the administration building and the Midway Park Community building. The final week of advance voting, June 8-12, the three locations will be open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. June 8, 9 and 10, and from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. on June 11 and 12.

The City Council election is open only to city residents, and those in the city are also able to vote in the District 24 race, as the city lies in the district.

The field includes: Roger Crow, a past president of the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce; former Forsyth County Commissioner Linda Ledbetter; Julie Tressler, a real estate agent and small business owner; and Cumming banker Chuck Welch.

The winner of the election will fill the remaining 18 months on Rupert Sexton’s term, and no run off will be held in that race. Sexton, who had held the post since 1971, announced on April 21 that he would be stepping down to enjoy retirement. His last day with the city was April 30.

District 24 also includes parts of six Forsyth County precincts: Coal Mountain, Cumming, Midway, Heardsville, Otwell and Polo.

The seat opened May 11, when longtime incumbent Mark Hamilton announced he was stepping down to pursue a job opportunity in Tennessee. About 18 months remain on his term.

Ethan Underwood, a partner in the Miles, Hansford and Tallant law firm; Sheri Gilligan, who challenged Hamilton in 2014; David Van Sant, a personal injury attorney, and Will Kremer, former state chairman of the Georgia Association of College Republicans have all qualified for that election.

A possible run off for that race would be held July 14.

The deadline to register for the election has already passed, but Smith said the number of registered voters could still be going up.

“As of May 15, there was 38,025, that is for House District 24. Specifically for voters in the City of Cumming, [the number is] 2,617,” Smith said.

“These were totals as of May 15, so technically there could be a few more here or there because we’re still receiving registrations that were mailed in by the May 18 deadline.”