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County to offer extended early voting hours
Move made to help commuters reach the polls
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Forsyth County News

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CUMMING — Advance voting has been beneficial to those wanting to beat the crowds on Election Day, but the early closing time has made it a challenge for those who work outside Forsyth County.

That’s about to change

Forsyth’s board of registrations and elections voted Wednesday to extend the voting hours to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. starting Saturday and continuing through Oct. 31. The hours were previously scheduled for 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The move, which passed 3-0, was made after concerns that many commuters would be unable to reach the polls before or after work.

“Forsyth County is a commuter county. We have thousands and thousands and thousands of voters that work outside the county, going down [Ga.] 400 coming through horrible traffic to make it to Forsyth County,” Brad Wilkins told the board.

Wilkins, who chairs the Republican Party of Forsyth County, went on to note that mornings can be challenging.

“If you work in Alpharetta or in Dunwoody, Buckhead or Atlanta, and you have a boss that tells you what time to be there, 8 a.m. doesn’t work,” he said.

The board also discussed potentially opening two other early voting locations for next week.

The proposed sites would be either First Redeemer or Lanier United Methodist churches in south Forsyth, and either Browns Bridge Community or Concord Baptist churches on the county’s north end.

“We can handle one of several sites in the south, but then the people up north aren’t going to be happy if they don’t get one,” said Donald Glover, board chairman. “… So then we start searching for one in the north and we want it to be very prominent and a good place.”

The board also reviewed parking issues in downtown Cumming, as work on the new county courthouse, detention center and parking deck has overtaken spaces near the County Administration Building.

The building is the sole early voting location until Saturday, when voting expands to at least four other sites — Cumming City Hall, the Hampton Park Library and the community buildings at Midway and Sharon Springs parks.

Currently voters must park at the new Castleberry parking deck, Cumming City Hall or temporary spots around the administration building.

“We could say we did not plan well about this parking situation,” Glover said. “We did not have any communication about our parking lots being torn up.”