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CUMMING — Voter turnout increased in Forsyth County over the second week of advance voting for the Nov. 4 General Election.
According to Barbara Luth, the local supervisor of voter registration and elections, more than 2,000 voters came out between Monday and Friday, bringing the two-week total to more than 4,000.
”It has increased almost every day, or at least they’re staying steady,” Luth said.
While there are no local contested races on the ballot, it does feature several high-profile state offices, including governor and Georgia school superintendent, as well as U.S. senator and both of the county’s congressional seats. Also featured is a county transportation bond referendum.
The average number of voters per day has risen by about 200 people since last week, according to Luth.
“It started in 300s [last week],” she said. “It’s been up to the 500s every day this week.”
Absentee voting has also been steadily going up.
“We’ve mailed out 1,692 absentee ballots,” Luth said. “And have received back … 1,005, and I think I have another 30-something that came back in [Friday].”
On Wednesday, the local elections board voted to change voting hours for this week from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
That took effect Saturday, the same day that voting expanded beyond the county administration building to four other sites: Cumming City Hall; the Hampton Park Library; and the community buildings at Midway and Sharon Springs parks.
“All next week … voting will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the five locations,” Luth said.
To allow more people who work out of county to vote ahead of time, and ease some traffic issues around some of the heavy voting areas, the county is also taking some other steps.
“We’re putting more signage out,” Luth said. “We’ve got more police officers from the sheriff’s [office] that’s going to come and man some of the major polls like Midway and Sharron Springs Park for any traffic control that we need.”
Since opening earlier and closing later is a new practice, Luth said that they’d be using next week to see if doing so attracts more votes.
“We’ll know a little bit more … we’ll be able to track some numbers to see is it worth the money to stay open that long,” Luth said. “I’m sure that next week … will help with the commuters.”
At the board meeting on Wednesday, there was also discussion of opening additional early voting sites, but that won’t happen this year. All the sites contacted had other engagements.