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Voting for May 20 primary picking up
Many choose to cast ballots early
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Forsyth County News

At a glance

Voting continues this week for the May 20 primary at the Forsyth County Administration Building, 110 E. Main St. in downtown Cumming. Hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The period known as advance voting will begin May 12, expanding from the current location to an addition four satellite sites: Cumming City Hall; Hampton Park Library; Midway Park Community Building; and Sharon Springs Park Community Building. Voting times vary by day and location. For more information, call (770) 781-2118 or visit

FORSYTH COUNTY — Voting for the May 20 primary has been brisk over the past seven days in Forsyth County.

On Monday alone, the local elections office handled 97 voters casting ballots for the May 20 primary.

“The numbers have been really good,” said Barbara Luth, elections supervisor. “As the weeks go by, we’ll have even higher numbers.”

The lone early voting location is inside the Forsyth County Administration Building in downtown Cumming, either in the lobby or commissioner’s meeting room, based on meetings and other activities.

The first week saw 428 voters. Luth expects many more through Saturday, as well as next week when voting expands to five locations.

No Democrats qualified to run for local office in Forsyth, but the Republican primary ballot features many contests.

Among them are races for solicitor general, which includes incumbent Donna Gopaul and challengers Bill Finch and Susan Zereini.

There is also a contested school board race. Ann Crow is seeking a fourth term in District 1 against Amanda Nixon and Mark Weiss.

On the county commission, incumbent Todd Levent faces opposition from David Hole in District 3.

There are also a couple of contested races for state legislature.

District 27 state Sen. Jack Murphy has drawn challengers Lauren McDonald III and Michael Williams. A fourth candidate, Jack Schiff, dropped out last month, though his name still appears on the ballot.

Luth said reminders are being posted at all precincts to let people know not to vote for Schiff.

District 24 state Rep. Mark Hamilton faces Sheri Smallwood Gilligan, while District 26 state Rep. Geoff Duncan gets a rematch with Tom Knox, whom he defeated in 2012.

Sam Moore, who was sworn in as District 22 state representative in February to fill the remainder of the late Calvin Hill’s term, is again up for re-election. He is facing Meagan Biello, whom he beat during a February runoff, and Wes Cantrell.

In addition to candidates, Forsyth voters are being asked to decide on a $195 million bond referendum to support the county’s school system. The money would be used to build new schools and upgrade existing ones, as well as other purposes.

Voters also have several statewide races, including for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Saxby Chambliss.

Republican candidates include Paul Broun, Art Gardner, Phil Gingrey, Derrick Grayson, Karen Handel, Jack Kingston and David Perdue. The Democrats are Steen Miles, Michelle Nunn, Branko Radulovacki and Todd Robinson.

Gov. Nathan Deal faces opposition in his bid for a second term. He is being challenged by State School Superintendent John Barge and David Pennington III on the Republican ticket.

The winner will advance to face Jason Carter, the sole Democratic candidate, in November.

But Barge’s decision to run for governor creates a vacancy for school chief, with 15 candidates running.

The Republican hopefuls include Mary Kay Bacallao, Ashley Bell, Mike Buck, Sharyl Dawes, Allen Fort, Nancy Jester, Fitz Johnson, Kira Willis and Richard Woods. The Democrats running are Tarnisha Dent, Denise Freeman, Jurita Mays, Alisha Morgan, Rita Robinzine and Valarie Wilson.

For U.S. Congress, District 7 Rep. Rob Woodall is running unopposed in the Republican primary, but will meet Thomas Wight in the general election.

District 9 U.S. Rep. Doug Collins is being challenged in the primary by Bernie Fontaine. The winner of that race move on against David Vogel.

While Forsyth typically posts an 80 percent turnout for a general election, Luth said she’s planning on about 25 percent for the primary. Though with the turnout so far, it could be higher.

“I’m encouraged by it,” she said.