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Early voting numbers surprise
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Forsyth County News

As of late Wednesday, nearly 1,500 voters had cast their ballots early for the Aug. 5 runoff election.

That may not seem like a high turnout in a county with more than 87,000 registered voters, but with just a 5 percent turnout expected, Chief Voter Registrar Gary J. Smith was pleasantly surprised.

Smith said early voting helps reduce lines on election day, but is not an indication of the total turnout.

“I’m really glad to see that there’s been a good turnout so far,” he said. “But the whole thing might just be that everybody’s going to vote early and nobody’s going to vote on election day.”

About 11 percent of the votes cast early have been Democratic ballots, which includes only the U.S. Senate race between DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones and 18-year state legislator Jim Martin.

The winner will face Saxby Chambliss, the Republican incumbent, in the Nov. 4 general election.
Republicans will weigh in on two local races.

Jim Boff and Julie Tressler are competing for the District 5 board of commissioners seat.

Though Boff led what was originally a field of four candidates in the July 15 primary, he did not reach the 50 percent majority needed to win without a runoff.

Clerk of superior court candidates Charles Adams and Greg Allen were in a tight race, but third candidate Walter Brown prevented either from obtaining a majority.

During the July 15 primary election, about 30 percent of those who voted did so during the early voting period.

Smith hopes for a repeat with the runoff, but regardless doesn't "think there will be any lines" on Aug. 5.

“The ballot is so small, it won't take very long,” he said. “It’s going to take as much time to check them in as it’s going to take them to vote.”