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New voting option well received
Turnout strong for balloting Saturday
Vote WEB
Mandi Smith, right, gives Helen and Alan Camp voting cards Saturday at the Forsyth County Administration Building. - photo by Autumn Vetter

At a glance

Advance voting continues through Friday on the following schedule:

• 8 a.m.-5 p.m. today

• 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday

• 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday

Locations

Advance voting is held at the following locations:

• Hampton Park Library, 5345 Settingdown Road

• Sharon Springs Park Community Building, 1950 Sharon Road

• Cumming City Hall, 100 Main St.

• Forsyth County Administration Building, 110 E. Main St.

• Midway Park Community Building, 5100 Post Road

• Please note: The Cumming and Sharon Forks branches of the public library, the county’s public safety complex and Sexton Hall (former Lakeland Community Church) are no longer open for advance voting.

• Also: There’s no voting March 5.

Source: Forsyth County elections department

Like hundreds of other local residents over the weekend, Tim Simmons and his wife just couldn’t pass up the chance to vote ahead of time and at their leisure.

Registered voters could cast ballots in the March 6 presidential primary between 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at the Forsyth County Administration Building.

It was the first time such an opportunity had been offered on Saturday in Georgia, and officials said it was a success.

“People are so appreciative,” said Donald Glover, chairman of the local elections board. “We’ve been steady all day and the public is really receiving Saturday voting well. They really like it.”

Simmons and his wife, Deb, were two of the 447 residents who stopped by Saturday.

The couple said the new option made it easier for both of them because they work during the week.

“When I saw it in the paper that there were going to have it on Saturday I said, ‘Yes, that’s great,’” Tim Simmons said.

Amanda Prior said her husband voted earlier in the day and kept the kids at home while she came out to vote.

“I’m a college student working on my master’s degree and it allowed me to not have to miss school during the week to be able to come here,” Prior said. “It was convenient.”

She noted that Saturday was also great for her husband, who works from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 or 9 p.m. during the week and in the past has had to take time off to vote.

State Rep. Mark Hamilton introduced the bill last legislative session that called for voting on a Saturday. It also shortened the early voting period from 45 to 21 days.

Hamilton, a Republican from Cumming, said it was nice to be one of those who voted Saturday.

“While there, I was able to ask others their thoughts and I was very pleased that every comment was positive,” Hamilton said. “The elections office also expressed their positive comments on how well it seemed to work.

“I am anxious to learn how other counties around the state reacted to this same opportunity.”

Those who didn’t make it out last weekend can still vote ahead of time through Friday at five locations throughout the county.

The hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Thursday, when the polls will stay open until 7 p.m.

All three ballot choices — Republican, Democratic and non-partisan — also have at least one alcohol sales question, asking voters if they’d like to grant stores in Forsyth the ability to sell alcoholic beverages on Sundays.

City of Cumming residents have a second question asking if city vendors may sell on Sundays.

Those requesting a party ballot do not need to vote in the same party during the July primary or November election.

Staff writer Jennifer Sami contributed to this report.