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Forsyth County set record for voter turnout in 2018 midterm
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Forsyth County resident Ningke Yi displays the sticker she received after voting on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. - photo by Bradley Wiseman

It was a busy election night in Forsyth County on Tuesday and rolling into early Wednesday morning when Forsyth County’s results started coming in, but the turnout was historic for a nonpresidential race.

For Election Day and three weeks of advance voting, Forsyth County had more than 93,000 of the county’s approximately 150,000 registered voters cast ballots, a turnout that Barbara Luth, Forsyth County’s director of voter registration and elections, and her staff were happy to see.

“Turnout was wonderful. To have over 65 percent turnout for a gubernatorial election is outstanding,” Luth said. “It was a record year in advance voting and on Election Day.”

Luth said about 52,000 cast ballots in advance voting and about 36,000 on Election Day.

Though presidential election years typically get a higher turnout and Forsyth County did not exceed the approximately 97,000 voters in 2016, this year’s total far surpassed 2014’s total during the last gubernatorial race of around 56,000.

“I think it was great. I love to see people vote,” Luth said. “We had some irate only because they had to stand in lines and, let's face it, they're not used to standing in lines.”

Luth said the longest lines were at First Redeemer Church for the Big Creek Precinct, which still had about 250 voters in line when polls closed at 7 p.m. Luth said all had voted by 8 p.m.

She said other precincts in south Forsyth, including the Polo and South Forsyth precincts, saw big turnouts.

Voting totals were not reported until early Wednesday morning, which Luth said was a product of the high turnout for the election and rules for when ballots can be counted.

“I think it was because of the size and the numbers of absentee [ballots] that we had mailed out. We started opening at 5 and they were running them through and getting them ready, but it was just because of a lot of duplications that we had to do because people mismark ballots,” she said.

“We can't start calculating the advanced voting ones until starting at 7 p.m., and we had 73 of those [machines] that have to be closed down.”

After hosting the primaries and runoffs earlier this year, Tuesday’s election was also the first election in the county’s new elections office.

“It's wonderful,” Luth said of the new facility. “It was so much easier to maneuver through that. The advance voting units were all up on tables so that they could just go through and do things.”