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Polls open Saturday in Cumming for early voting special election
voting
Poll worker Sue Buckalew assists a voter Wednesday at the Forsyth County Administration Building in downtown Cumming. Early voting for the June 16 special election continues from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. today and from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. - photo by Micah Green

CUMMING — Voters who have been unable to cast their ballots ahead of time for the June 16 special election to fill vacancies on the Cumming City Council and/or the state House of Representatives can do so on Saturday.

Forsyth County’s elections board is required by law to offer Saturday voting for state and federal elections.

“We’re going to be at all three of our locations — at Midway Park, at City Hall and at the [county administration] building from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” said Barbara Luth, Forsyth’s supervisor of voter registrations and elections.

The election for the Post 1 council and/or state House District 24 seats

The House seat opened May 11, when longtime incumbent Mark Hamilton announced he was stepping down to pursue a job opportunity in Tennessee. About 18 months remain on his term.

District 24 spans an area that includes Cumming and the middle of Forsyth County. It includes parts of six precincts: Coal Mountain; Cumming; Midway; Heardsville; Otwell; and Polo.

All registered voters in the Cumming precinct are eligible to vote in the council election, though some — depending on street address — may not be able to cast a ballot in the state House contest.

Early voting opened May 27. To date, turnout has been lighter than expected, with elections official Mandi Smith noting this week’s turnout has been “very comparable to last week.”

“Right now, grand total through both locations as of Wednesday was 350,” Smith said.  “At both locations the grand total was 175 each.”

“Week one administration building was 92. Week one city hall was 98. Week two through Wednesday was 83 at the admin building and 77 at city hall.”

The turnout is low considering District 24 has more than 38,000 registered voters and the city has about 2,600.

Early voting continues today from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and then wraps up next week, when the three locations will be open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on June 8, 9 and 10, and from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. on June 11 and 12.

The nonpartisan council race features four candidates: Roger Crow, a past president of the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce; former Forsyth County Commissioner Linda Ledbetter; Julie Tressler, a real estate agent and small business owner; and Cumming banker Chuck Welch.

The top vote-getter will fill the remaining 18 months on Rupert Sexton’s term. Sexton, who had held the post since 1971, announced on April 21 that he would be stepping down to enjoy retirement.

The field for the House contest includes: Ethan Underwood, a partner in the Miles, Hansford and Tallant law firm; Sheri Gilligan, who challenged Hamilton in 2014; David Van Sant, a personal injury attorney; and Will Kremer, former state chairman of the Georgia Association of College Republicans.

A runoff election, if necessary, would be held July 14.