Forsyth’s 28 precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today. Voters must provide one of the six acceptable forms of photo identification: Georgia driver’s license; valid ID card by any state or U.S. with photo; U.S. passport; government employee photo ID; U.S. military ID card with photo; tribal ID card with photo.
Election Day is today, but already about 18,000, or 20 percent, of Forsyth’s 105,600 voters have cast a ballot through early and advanced voting.
“I’m looking at 50 percent [voter turnout] by the end of Election Day,” said Barbara Luth, Forsyth County elections supervisor.
Luth said while Election Day waiting times might only be about 10 minutes, a new technology could make them even shorter.
Electronic scanners will be used for the first time here today. Instead of poll workers manually entering a voter’s name, the scanners will read the barcode of driver’s licenses.
“Everybody in the state is using them now ... it saves about a minute a voter,” Luth said. “It will reduce the line most definitely.”
The equipment was provided by the state and came at no cost to the county.
Having been a poll worker for nearly four decades, Forsyth County Board of Elections Chairman Donald Glover said the scanners are just one more way to make voting more convenient.
“They’ve got all the bugs worked out of them before we go into live operation and I think it’s going to be a great advantage, a time saver and I think it should please the voters,” Glover said.
While several forms of photo identification are accepted at the county’s 28 precincts, the scanners can only read driver’s licenses.
“I’m estimating we’ll have 50 or 60 percent of people that can be scanned in. We’ll have a person to let them know what to expect, to be ready to scan or to do it the old way with them having to type in their information,” Glover said. “I think it’s going to be great.”
Forsyth voters will have at least 19 races, five amendments and one statewide referendum on their ballot. Races include court of appeals judges, state and U.S. legislators, governor, secretary of state, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Commissioners of agriculture, insurance, labor and public service are also on the ballot.
District 1 residents in Forsyth will also vote for their next county commissioner — either Republican Pete Amos or Democrat Mary Chatfield.
Forsyth’s District 2 voters will choose either Democrat Camille Fareri or Republican Kristin Morrissey to be their next school board member.
In addition to Republican, Democratic and Libertarian candidates, there are also six certified write-in candidates between U.S. senate, governor and state school superintendent races.
Luth said if voters don’t like any of their options for a particular race, they can write in a candidate of their own, although she doesn’t encourage that option.
“They vote for Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, red dog, blue dog, Spongebob Squarepants ... sometimes people vote for themselves — we don’t count them,” she said. “ ... We only certify the write-ins that are [state] certified.
“Unfortunately, when they do [write in a non-state certified candidate], they lose their chance to vote for or against a candidate, so it’s like throwing you vote away, I feel,” she said, noting a list of state-certified write-in candidates will be posted at every precinct.