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Few voting early in special election
Contest is to fill state House post
Poll workers Jeanne Curry, left, and Pat Groman wait for voters to arrive at the early voting location inside the Forsyth County Administration Building on Thursday morning. - photo by Jim Dean

This week

* Advance voting for the Jan. 7 special election to fill the state House District 22 vacancy will run this week at the Forsyth County Administration Building and the Midway Park Community Building. Hours are 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday and Thursday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday and Friday.

* Note: No voting will take place Wednesday, New Year’s Day.

At the current rate, one vote could make a difference in the special election to fill the District 22 seat in the state House of Representatives.

About 10 people in Forsyth County cast a ballot during the early voting period, which ended Friday.

“It has been very low,” said Mandi Smith, elections supervisor. “Everybody gets individual attention.”

If that pace were to continue this week, Smith said, “It’s probably going to be one of the lower [percentages] we’ve had.”

About 10,500 voters in southwest Forsyth — those living in the Brandywine, Midway and Polo precincts — are eligible to participate in the Jan. 7 contest. The post was previously held by Calvin Hill, who died Oct. 30 at age 66.

“It’s a smaller subset, but this turnout is still very low,” Smith said.

Forsyth’s small number of voters, however, is complemented by much larger segments in neighboring Cherokee and Fulton counties, parts of which are also in the district.

Four choices await voters on the ballot: Nate Cochran, 37 of Alpharetta and Meagan Biello, 31, Jeff Duncan, 52 and Sam Moore, 37, all of Ball Ground.

While the race is nonpartisan, all the candidates identify themselves as Republicans.

Smith said she hopes the season — and not voter apathy — are contributing to the low turnout.

“People aren’t thinking about voting right now, they’re thinking about the holidays,” she said.

The election was scheduled in early January with the goal of filling the post before the Georgia General Assembly convenes Jan. 13. A runoff election, if necessary, would be held Feb. 4.

Voting continues Monday and runs through Friday at both the Forsyth County Administration Building and the Midway Park Community Building.

With the park building close to the participating precincts, turnout could pick up.

“We certainly hope so. We just don’t know,” said Smith, adding that she’s “a little disappointed” by such low numbers.

“We do what we do no matter what,” she said. “Whether one person comes to vote or 1,000 people come to vote, and so we’d prefer 1,000 people come to vote. That’s all we can do.”