Early voting for two local elections has come to an end, and the results are less than stellar.
Early voting to fill the unexpired terms of Rupert Sexton, for Cumming City Council Post 1, and Mark Hamilton, state House District 24, has been open since May 26, but only pulled 1,518 for advance voting. District 24 has about 38,000 voters eligible to vote in the election, while Cumming has more than 2,600.
“[Voting has gone] very slowly,” said county Supervisor of Voter Registrations and Elections Barbara Luth. “It has picked up a little bit, but not anything to speak of. This was the last push.”
Voting was open at three locations, Cumming City Hall, the Forsyth County Administration Building and Midway Park, for final week of voting. Despite not opening Saturday and for the final week of advance voting, Midway drew more voters than the other two locations.
“For the Admin Building, 476 [people voted,] and of course that would be for all three weeks.
“City Hall, because it was open all three weeks, 494, and then Midway Park, which just opened Saturday, 548.”
Friday was the last day of advance voting and no advance voting will be held on Monday. Tuesday is the official election day and voting will be held at all precincts located within District 24.
“We’ll be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. [on Tuesday,]” Luth said. “Voters need to bring their photo ID, so that they can vote. It would help if they would go online to ensure that they are in the city and/or in House District 24 before they show up to the poll.”
For the city’s election, whoever simply gets the most votes will win, but the House race will require a larger percentage of votes. If no candidate gets more than half the votes a runoff will be held.
“In the24th District, if a candidate doesn’t get 50 percent plus one vote, the top two vote getters will be in the runoff, which will be on July 14,” Luth said. “There will be advance voting, but we’re not sure where. It will definitely be in [the administration building.]”
Luth said voting will likely not be held at City Hall since the city election will be decided, and any other locations will be voted on the county’s Board of Voter Registrations and Elections.
Both races will fill vacancies by longtime elected officials, and those elected will serve the remainder of the predecessor’s term.
The House seat opened May 11, when incumbent Hamilton announced he was stepping down to pursue a job opportunity in Tennessee. About 18 months remain on his term.
District 24 spans an area that includes Cumming and the middle of Forsyth County. It includes parts of six precincts: Coal Mountain; Cumming; Midway; Heardsville; Otwell; and Polo.
“We’re going to open at Coal Mountain which is at the Coal Mountain Park Community Building, Cumming City Hall, at Midway Park, at Heardsville, which is the Sawnee Mountain community building, Otwell, which is First Baptist of Cumming and Polo which is at Grace Chapel Church of Christ,” Luth said.
All registered voters in the Cumming precinct are eligible to vote in the council election, though some — depending on street address — may not be able to cast a ballot in the state House contest.
The nonpartisan council race features four candidates: Roger Crow, a past president of the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce; former Forsyth County Commissioner Linda Ledbetter; Julie Tressler, a real estate agent and small business owner; and Cumming banker Chuck Welch.
The top vote-getter will fill the remaining 18 months on Rupert Sexton’s term. Sexton, who had held the post since 1971, announced on April 21 that he would be stepping down to enjoy retirement.
The field for the House contest includes: Ethan Underwood, a partner in the Miles, Hansford and Tallant law firm; Sheri Gilligan, who challenged Hamilton in 2014; David Van Sant, an attorney; and Will Kremer, former state chairman of the Georgia Association of College Republicans.