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Elections chief: early voting "just works..."
Numbers up 4 percent from primary in 2006
Early Voting 1 es1
The Rev. Stuart Leyden votes last week at the Cumming Library. More than 4,200 voters cast ballots during the early voting period for the July 15 primary. Election Day is Tuesday. All 33 precincts in the county will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. - photo by Emily Saunders

Voting early is catching on.

With more than 4,200 votes cast last week, more people voted early this year than during the 2006 primary, said Forsyth County Chief Voter Registrar Gary J. Smith.

Smith said about 20 percent of the expected turnout for the primary took part in early voting. That's about a 4 percent increase over the 2006 primary.

Election Day is Tuesday. All 33 precincts in the county will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Smith said he expects even more people to vote early in the Nov. 4 presidential election.

"My goal is 25 percent [for early voting]," he said. "If we don't reach 25 percent by the general election, we're going to probably have some long lines.

"If we have a good turnout in advanced voting, then voters are going to have a good experience all the way around."

Some early voting locations were more popular than others last week, with the two branches of the public library leading the way.

There were 1,714 votes cast at the Cumming Library and 1,163 from Sharon Forks. The administration building, Public Safety Complex and Midway Park averaged about 460 voters for the week.For the week, 4,263 people voted.

"The libraries have always been the most popular," Smith said. "The libraries are places a lot of people go to all the time, so when they're already there, they vote.

"Then they go home and tell their friends how easy it was to vote early and then their friends come in and experience the same thing."

The turnout at all the locations was stronger Friday than on Monday.

Smith said he is finishing a voter survey. The majority of participants, he said, have offered positive feedback.
"Advanced voting just works," he said.