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Early voting for local runoff picks up in week 2
Justin Hawkins.

The second week of advance voting for the July 26 Republican primary runoff proved more popular than the first.

During the second week of advance voting, which included the only weekend day of voting on Saturday, 259 voters cast ballots for candidates Laura Semanson and Justin Hawkins. After bringing in 93 votes in the first week, the total for the first two weeks is 352 voters.

District 5 covers much of eastern Forsyth around Lake Lanier and has about 27,000 registered voters.

During the first week, one possible reason for the low turnout was starting the day after Independence Day. Supervisor of Voter Registrations and Elections Barbara Luth said the extra days helped the second week.

“It was up last week,” Luth said. “It almost doubled through the week, considering we had four days the week before and the five days plus Saturday, [which] came out to over 250 … I think we’re doing good for a runoff.”

Saturday also saw the highest number of voters for any day, with 59 voters. The county was not required to hold Saturday voting since there is no federal candidate in this race, but officials said they wanted to give early voters a weekend day.

“I think it was beneficial because people came that weren’t able to come during the week because we close at 4:30 p.m.,” Luth said.
Of 123 absentee ballots mailed out, 54 have been returned.

This week will be the last of advance voting before the runoff. Polls will be open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Forsyth County administration building until Friday.

No advance voting will be held on Monday, July 25.

On July 26, polls will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at five precincts in the district.

The winner of the runoff will replace Commissioner Jim Boff, who did not seek re-election for the seat he has held since 2009.

Semanson and Hawkins were the top two vote getters in the May 24 Republican general primary, though neither earned the required 50 percent of votes plus one vote to win outright.

Semanson, who previously worked in the technology industry, received the primary’s most votes with 1,654 – about 43 percent of the total.
Hawkins, a pharmaceutical sales representative, finished with 1,241 votes – about 33 percent.

The race’s third candidate, Chandon Adams, received 914 votes, about 24 percent, and did not qualify for the runoff, which only takes the two with the most votes.

The county administration building is located at 110 E. Main Street in Cumming.

More information, including a sample ballot, can be found at