By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Many choices, few voters in election
Placeholder Image
Forsyth County News

The real winner in Tuesday's election may have been voter apathy.

Less than 17 percent of Forsyth County's 87,254 registered voters participated in balloting that featured races for numerous county offices, including commissioner, school board and sheriff.

And more than 4,200 of those 14,632, or nearly 30 percent, came during last week's early voting period.

The turnout was a far cry from the 48 percent who participated in the Feb. 5 election, which featured the presidential preference primary and local referendums on a 1-cent sales tax and parks, recreation and greenspace bond.

Gary J. Smith, who oversees elections in the county, lamented the low turnout, but noted that Cherokee and Hall counties drew fewer voters.

"Even though I consider ours low, we were better than some of our neighbors," Smith said.

Even fewer voters are expected for the Aug. 5 runoff, which will feature one county commission race and the contest for clerk of court.

Tuesday afternoon, poll managers at several precincts reported that it appeared many people were choosing not to vote.

As of 2 p.m., just 170 people had voted in the Coal Mountain precinct in north Forsyth, whose District 5 commission seat was among three being contested.

Nancy Martin, manager and a poll worker of 32 years, called the turnout "pitiful."

"We usually have a good turnout in Coal Mountain," she said.

But Coal Mountain wasn't alone. Both the Cumming and Daves Creek precincts reported small turnouts.

Chris Spragg, poll manager at the Cumming precinct in the main branch of the Forsyth County Library, said that just 186 people had voted as of 1:30 p.m.

Ralph Perry, a poll worker of six years, said he expected just 30 percent of voters would show up.

"This election's going to be slow," said Perry, adding that the fall election likely would be much different.

"November's going to be really big this year, especially with the presidential election," he said.

Amy Barker, 31, cast her vote at the library. She said she was most affected by the right-to-life issue, which appeared as a nonbinding ballot question from the local Republican party.

Barker added that she also wanted the county to address its traffic problems and growth.

Edwin Toro, 46, who also voted at the Cumming precinct, said that it didn't matter the issue because, "I always come out and vote."

Overall, Toro said, "the county's run very well," but two issues he thinks need to be addressed include the county's growth and the "water issue."

"I live right on Lake Lanier," he said. "And water conservation is important."

Over in the Daves Creek precinct at Daves Creek Elementary School, poll manager Brenda Faye Keown said that 103 people had voted as of 3 p.m.

Reese Chappell was one of them.

"You have no right to complain if you don't get out and vote," he said. "It's the only way we can speak."

Of all the issues, Chappell said, the three county commission races on the ballot were most important. He also liked the Fair Tax questions asked the local GOP asked.

Back in Coal Mountain, voter Donna Snyder agreed that the county commission races were important.

"It affects everything," she said of the county's five-member governing board.

Synder, 42, also is concerned about traffic.

"The county's growing so much," she said. "The roads are not routed well and need to be widened."

Chris Vaughn also voted in Coal Mountain. Wearing his "I'm a Georgia Voter" sticker, the 43-year-old said that while he was not familiar with many of the candidates, he felt it important to vote.

He chose many of the incumbents because, "We need to keep the people in office that are doing a good job."

Staff Writer Jennifer Sami contributed to this report.