By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Early ballots roll up
Secretary of State expects massive turnout
WEB voting 2
Voters wait in line at the county administration building for in-person absentee voting Thursday.

For a closer look at local elections see Sunday's edition of the Forsyth County News. 

Early voting locations will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.  between Oct. 27 and Oct. 31. Early voting locations include the following.

Cumming Public Library
585 Dahlonega Highway
Cumming, GA 30040

Sharon Forks Public Library
2820 Old Atlanta Road
Cumming, GA 30041

Forsyth County Public Safety Complex
3520 Settingdown Road
Cumming, GA 30028

Midway Park
5100 Post Road
Cumming, GA 30040

Voters can also cast their ballots at the Office of Voter Registration and Elections, which will be open during its normal business hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

All 33 precincts will be open Nov. 4 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call (770) 781- 2118. For election information online or to check wait times, visit

More than 14,500 Forsyth County residents have voted since Sept. 19.

But that's nothing compared to what Chief Voter Registrar Gary J. Smith is anticipates for early voting week, which begins Monday.

He expects even more voters this week than the past five weeks combined.

"I've never seen anything like it," said Smith. "I've never seen a line. I've never seen this many people that area actually committed to coming out to vote."

Based on turnout, Smith has increased his original projections, saying before Election Day, between 35 and 40 percent of voters will have already cast their ballots. So far, nearly 14.7 percent have voted.

Secretary of State Karen Handel, who spoke to members of the Forsyth County AARP Friday, said 1 million Georgians have voted early so far. She expects "easily another 500,000 votes" cast by Election Day.

In total, she said, about 80 percent of registered voters will vote this election, with about 33 percent are likely to vote early.

Response to early voting has been positive and Handel said she's definitely a fan.

"With the 80 percent turnout, that would be 4.5 million coming to vote just in the state of Georgia," she said. "The sheer volume of trying to efficiently manage that many people in one day is really the reason we knew we had to look at alternatives for voters."

The alternative started with the current election, allowing voters to cast an in-person absentee ballot up to 45 days prior to Election Day.

In Forsyth, 10 voting machines were used for in-person absentee voting. Those machines will continue to be used in the elections office during early voting week. In addition, 42 machines will be sent to the other four early voting satellite locations, which will be manned by about 60 poll workers.

When in-person absentee voting began Sept. 19, only 64 people showed up to vote. The number gradually increased over the five weeks and on Friday, a new record was broken with 1,285 ballots cast.

"I think we're probably going to vote 20,000 people next week," Smith said, adding it might start off with 3,000 per day, and close out with about 5,000 voters Friday.

On Election Day, about 485 machines will be evenly distributed between the county's 33 precincts, along with up to 400 poll workers.

Smith said he's been pleasantly surprised by in-person absentee voting, though he said the majority will continue to vote on Election Day to keep with tradition.

While voters are waiting in line, Smith said they can look over sample ballots and information on the three state constitutional amendments.

Wait times, said Smith, have typically been less than 40 minutes.

"That's really surprised people. They come in, look at the line and think it's a long time, but all of a sudden they're at the front of the line and ready to vote," he said.

Handel said rapid-moving lines could be due to people only voting for the presidential election, and not state and local candidates, amendments or other ballot questions.

"I do think we're going to have a pretty high percentage of people who just come in and only vote in the presidential race," she told AARP members. "It's a shame. Because there are really other important things down on the ballot."

Consolidated Sample Ballot - 2008 General
Sample Ballot Federal-9
Sample Ballot 7-27-24