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Voting to begin on April 9
Some precincts have changed since 2008
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Forsyth County News
At a glance

Forsyth County has shuffled the following voting precincts:
  • Lakeland, or Precinct 14, has combined with Mashburn to form an enlarged Precinct 8.
  • Mountainside, or Precinct 28, has merged with Otwell, becoming a larger Precinct 16.
  • St. Marlo, or Precinct 31, has combined with Johns Creek, resulting in an expanded Precinct 17.
  • Bentley, or Precinct 23, and West, or Precinct 32, are now part of Midway, or Precinct 10.
Forsyth County voters will have their choice between eight candidates when early voting begins April 9 for the May 11 special election.

The nonpartisan contest is being held to fill the unexpired term in the District 9 Congressional seat, recently vacated by gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal.

About 15 counties must hold elections for the seat, including the bulk of Forsyth.

The official special election day is May 11, but Forsyth County Election and Registration Supervisor Barbara Luth said she anticipates the majority of those voting will do so ahead of time.

“People really like voting early,” she said. “But people aren’t expecting an election right now. But the signs are up. I’ve seen the political signs on my way into work today.”

Early voting will be held in the county’s elections office from April 9 through May 7.

The week of May 3-7, four satellite locations will also be open for advance voting.

Those include the Forsyth County Public Safety Complex, Midway Park and the Cumming Library, as well as Lakeland Community Church.

The church is replacing the Sharon Forks Library branch as the early voting site on the county’s south end.

In addition to changing an advance voting location, the department has eliminated five precincts.

Twenty-two of the remaining 27 precincts are eligible to vote in the special election.

Though the 9th Congressional District has nearly 87,500 registered voters, Luth said the special election is unlikely to generate much activity.

“People overall just don’t vote in special elections,” she said. “I’d be lucky if it’s between 10 and 15 percent. I would like to have it be a whole lot more than that.

“It costs us the same amount of money if one voter comes out, or all 80,000 plus that are in this district.”

The county will likely have to pay about $50,000 to hold the special election. But Luth said she’s trying to recruit county employees to volunteer as poll workers to cut back on costs.

And with eight candidates — six Republicans, one Democrat and an Independent — vying for the seat, there will likely be a runoff election on June 8.

Because the ballot is nonpartisan, the two candidates who garner the highest number of votes, regardless of party affiliation, would advance to the runoff.

The special election is to fill the remainder of Deal’s term, which ends January.

The candidates will also have to qualify for the July 20 primary election.

“I’ve seen it happen ... that one person may win the unexpired term and another person will go on and be voted on in November,” Luth said. “I think the [voters] will get more confused when it’s the primary. They’ll say, ‘Wait, didn’t we just vote on that?’”

Luth said she would have preferred to skip the May 11 election and just fill the seat during the July 20 primary. But despite the extra cost, she said she understood why Gov. Sonny Perdue opted to hold the special election.

“He probably wanted to make sure somebody was in that seat — that there was somebody representing the voters,” she said.