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Special election runoff Tuesday for Forsyth County state House seat

FORSYTH COUNTY — Early voting in the special election runoff for the vacant District 24 seat in the state House of Representatives has ended with surprising turnout.

“Grand totals for advance voting is 1,661,” said Barbara Luth, Forsyth County’s supervisor of voter registrations and elections. “It was higher than advance voting in the special election. In the June 16 election, it was 1,518.”

For Luth, it was the first time she had seen a runoff draw more participation than the actual election.

“I haven’t seen this happen,” she said “Evidently, the candidates got out and they got the people to come out and vote. We’ll see what [Tuesday] brings. If it’s anything like this, then we’ll have even more people vote on Election Day.”

The contest pits Sheri Gilligan, a former CIA analyst who now teaches at Lanier Technical College, against local attorney David Van Sant. The two received the most votes last month, with Gilligan tallying about 49.9 percent and Van Sant about 24.5 percent.

As neither Republican received the required 50 percent plus one vote, the runoff was required to choose a successor to longtime incumbent Mark Hamilton, who stepped down in May to accept a private sector position in Tennessee. No Democrats qualified to seek the post.

Friday was the final day of advance voting and the polls are closed Monday. Going into Tuesday, Luth reminded those living in the Polo precinct that voting will not be held at Grace Chapel Church, the  usual location.

“It wasn’t available,” she said. “So we’ll be at Berean Baptist Church which is just down Majors Road from the original site. We’ve got signs out and everything else to make sure that everybody finds it.”

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at each of the six precincts that make up District 24.

According to Luth, “We’re [also] going to be at Coal Mountain, which is at Coal Mountain Community Park Building; at Cumming, at Cumming City Hall; Midway, which is Midway Park Community Building; Heardsville, which is at Sawnee Mountain Community Building; Otwell, at First Baptist Church in Cumming; and Polo, which is at Berean Baptist Church.”

For more details, see the voter registrations and elections information page at