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Early voting for primary begins
Presidential hopefuls, Sunday sales on ballot
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Forsyth County News

At a glance

* Early voting for the March 6 presidential preference primary will run from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday from Feb. 13-24 in the Forsyth County Administration building, 110 Main St. in Cumming.

* Saturday early voting is set for 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the same location Feb. 25. For more information, call (770) 781-2118 or visit

In what has been a busy winter for national politics, it’s finally Georgia’s turn.

While the official presidential preference primary isn’t until March 6, early voting in the state begins Monday and Forsyth County elections officials are ready.

"We’ve been having quite a few by mail and quite a few people registering to vote," said Barbara Luth, Forsyth County elections supervisor. "Most people like to early vote, so I think they’ll come out for early and advanced voting."

Early voting begins Monday and will run through Feb. 24.

During that time, voters can go to the elections office in the Forsyth County Administration Building between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays to cast a ballot.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 25, Forsyth voters have the chance to cast a ballot on a Saturday, making it easier for those with work week commitments.

The Saturday voting resulted from a bill authored by District 23 state Rep. Mark Hamilton, requiring local offices to let "registered voters to vote on the Saturday a week before election day."

"This is a positive change in giving voters the opportunity to vote, even when their job or family situation makes it difficult to vote during normal business hours during the week," said Hamilton, a Republican from Cumming.

Luth said she’s curious to see how busy the office is during Saturday voting.

"I think it’ll catch on," she said.

One aspect that may be confusing to voters is the number of Republican candidates on the ballot.

Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Buddy Roemer are the remaining hopefuls in the race.

But Michele Bachmann, John Huntsman, Gary Johnson and Rick Perry, all of whom have suspended their campaigns, will still appear on the ballot.

"As far as we know, they’re all still technically in the running," Luth said. "If they withdraw or send in formal withdrawal papers, the secretary of state will tell us and we’ll post notices at the precincts letting people know they’ve withdrawn."

Voters can choose between Republican, Democratic and non-partisan ballots.

Those requesting a party ballot do not need to vote in the same party during the July primary or November election.

President Barack Obama is the lone presidential candidate on the Democrats’ ballot.

All three ballots will have at least one alcohol sales question, asking voters if they’d like to grant stores in Forsyth County the ability to sell alcoholic beverages on Sundays.

Residents of the city of Cumming will have a second question asking if city vendors can sell on Sundays.

Many cities and counties throughout the state are asking voters to weigh in on the issue.

The measure came about in 2011, when the state legislature voted to allow local governments to let voters decide if they’d like to legalize Sunday sales.

Luth said the alcohol question likely will draw voters who may otherwise have not taken part.

"There’s a possibility we could have more voters because of that, but we’ll know a little bit more when early voting starts Monday," she said. "I think in Forsyth we will have a good turnout. They were wanting to see the alcohol [question] back in November when we had the SPLOST election, so I think they’ll come out for it."