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Early voting opens for Forsyth County special election runoff

FORSYTH COUNTY — Advance voting opens Monday for the runoff election to fill the vacant District 24 seat in the state House of Representatives.

The contest pits the top two Republican vote-getters from the June 16 special election, Sheri Gilligan and David Van Sant, with the winner serving the remaining 18 months of longtime incumbent Mark Hamilton’s term. Hamilton resigned last month to take a job in Tennessee.

Officials are not expecting as big of a turnout as the special election, which in one precinct also featured the race for Cumming City Council Post 1, but say there is interest. About 10 percent of eligible registered voters took part in June.

“It’s going to be lower than the last one, because we won’t have that city election involved,” said Barbara Luth, the county’s supervisor of voter registrations and elections.

“However, we have had people stopping by [on Friday] to ask when voting is starting, and we do have some mail-out ballots that will be sent on Monday.

“Sometimes you get the same amount in the runoff, [others] it goes down a little bit. So it’s definitely going to be under 10 percent, but how much I don’t know, maybe half.”

The district spans Cumming and parts of north and west Forsyth and includes parts of six precincts: Coal Mountain, Cumming, Midway, Heardsville, Otwell and Polo.

The first week of advance voting will be cut short a day due to the July Fourth holiday Friday.

“June 29 through July 2, which is Monday through Thursday, we will be open at the Forsyth Administration Building from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” Luth said.

The second week times will vary depending on the day.

“The second week, from July 6 through July 10, Monday through Thursday, we’ll be open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” Luth said.  “We’ll be at the administration building, and also we’ll be open at Midway Park Community Building [at 5100 Post Road].

“We have no Saturday voting this time. We’re not required to have Saturday voting on a runoff.”

Luth said that this is the second runoff in a special election in just over a year.

One was required in early 2014 following the death of state Rep. Calvin Hill of District 22, which covers the southwestern corner (three precincts) of Forsyth, as well as parts of neighboring Cherokee and northern Fulton counties.