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Election changes coming
Shifts will better align precincts, polling sites
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Forsyth County News

Some changes are in store for many local voters this fall.

The Forsyth County Elections Department plans to eliminate a couple precincts, as well as shift some voters to different locations.

The changes, nearly 20 in all, are pending review by the Department of Justice.

But Betsy Brown, local elections community outreach coordinator, said officials are confident federal approval will come within 60 days.

All voters affected by the changes will receive a new precinct card in the mail sometime in September.

"Our goal is to have it start in November so that people can get used to these changes before we go into next year with the presidential primary," Brown said.

"We think these changes are beneficial to voters."

Among the proposed moves, Windermere’s precinct would take on voters who previously cast ballots at the Daves Creek precinct, which would be eliminated.

Also, the Lanier and Chattahoochee precincts in northeastern Forsyth would be consolidated to form the new, Browns Bridge precinct.

Brown said the office was not asked to make the changes.

"But in looking at how we could help with the budget and the things we could do, this is one of the things we came up with, and it makes sense," she said.

Among the other noteworthy differences would involve the city of Cumming.

Currently, the Cumming precinct, located in the main library branch, draws voters who live in and outside of the city limits.

Pending federal approval, not only would the Cumming precinct shift to City Hall but its lines would be redrawn to match the city’s boundaries and include only Cumming residents — all of them.

This change would make it easier for voters who live in the city to cast ballots in one location, saving money by eliminating the need to staff more than one precinct.

It would also "save confusion for the voters in the future," Brown said.

In addition, three of the five early voting locations would change, as well as their hours.

City Hall would again take the place of the main library branch, but the Hampton Park library branch would be used instead of the Forsyth County Public Safety Complex.

Also, the Sharon Springs Community Building would replace of the nearby county property formerly known as Lakeland Community Church.

The early voting locations at Midway Park and the County Administration Building would not change.

Statewide changes to the early voting hours, however, would affect all five locations.

Instead of polls being open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily during early voting, the hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday would be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A Saturday early voting day could also be added, pending approval from the Department of Justice.

In order to balance the flow of voters, a few more polling stations and boundaries are also subject to change.

They include moving polling locations for the Keith Bridge and Coal Mountain precincts.

Once approved, a full list of the changes will be posted on the county’s Web site.