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Qualifying for June 16 special election in Cumming wraps up today
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Forsyth County News

Voter registration deadline

The last day to register to vote in the City of Cumming’s special election is May 18. Those wishing to register to vote must contact the Forsyth County Voter Registrations and Elections Office at http://www.forsythco.com/department.asp?DeptID=27.

CUMMING — Qualifying for the city of Cumming’s June 16 special election enters its final day with the field still at four candidates after no one else joined the race Wednesday.

 

According to the city, former Forsyth County Commissioner Linda Ledbetter, Cumming banker Chuck Welch and Julie Tressler, a real estate agent and small business owner, paid the qualifying fee and completed the necessary paperwork Tuesday to run for the Post 1 seat.

 

Those three, all of whom had previously declared their intent to run, were joined by a fourth candidate, Roger Crow, also on Tuesday.

 

Crow is past president of the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce and the husband of Ann Crow, the District 1 representative on the Forsyth County Board of Education.

 

Potential candidates for city council must be registered to vote, at least 21 years old and have lived in the city limits for at least one year. The fee to qualify is $180.

 

Qualifying continues from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today at City Hall, 100 Main St. in downtown Cumming.

 

The four candidates, and possibly others, will vie to 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. His last day with the city was April 30.

 

The council has since appointed Doug Sorrells, former longtime clerk of courts in Forsyth County, to fill the vacancy through the election.

 

Sorrells, who said he has no interest in running for the office, is the first new face on the council since the early 1990s.

 

Though it is a city race, the Forsyth County Department of Voter Registration and Elections will be handling the election for Cumming. The city has just one precinct with 2,543 registered voters.

 

“Even though we do conduct the election, [the city does] all the calls and advertising and stuff like that,” said Barbara Luth, supervisor of the county’s elections department.

 

Tressler was the first potential candidate to announce her interest in the city’s vacancy, doing so May 1.

 

A 15-year resident of the city, Tressler ran to succeed Ledbetter in the District 5 commission post in 2008. She fell by 30 votes to Jim Boff in the Republican primary runoff election.

 

Ledbetter, a retired educator who taught American government at what is now Forsyth Central High School, did not seek a second term on the commission seven years ago.

 

She and Welch, a senior vice president with Community Business Bank, each announced their candidacy last week.

 

Crow had not previously stated his intention to run and could not be reached for comment.

 

Contested elections in Cumming, the county’s lone municipality, are rare. There hasn’t been one in 12 years, when Mayor H. Ford Gravitt faced an opponent in 2003. The councilmen, like Sexton in 2013, have typically run unopposed for re-election.

 

Whoever wins the special election is scheduled to take office July 21. The Post 1 term runs through Dec. 31, 2017.

 

Advance voting for the special election will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday from May 26 to June 12 at City Hall for any and all registered voters in Cumming.

 

The council will have three other seats up for election Nov. 3. Qualifying for Posts 3, 4 and 5 is set for Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 and 2, for the same $180 fee.