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Voting early remains popular
Advance balloting ends Friday
Early Voting 1 es
The Rev. Stuart Leyden votes Wednesday at the Cumming Library. More than 2,300 voters have cast ballots during this week's early voting period for the July 15 primary. - photo by Emily Saunders

The early voting period for the July 15 primary began with a surprise surge and has stayed steady through the week.

Early balloting, which wraps up this afternoon, drew 756 voters on Monday, its first day. Through Wednesday, 2,317 people had voted.

"The numbers are surprising right now," said Chief Voter Registrar Gary J. Smith, who had predicted a 20 percent voter turnout overall for Tuesday's primary. "I may have to refine what I first thought."

The turnout Monday, Smith said, was larger than in Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties, each of which has four times more registered voters than Forsyth.

The ballots feature races for county commission, school board, sheriff and various other local governments posts. In addition, they also feature separate, nonbinding questions from the local Democratic and Republican parties.

While the past two elections have seen early voting turnout increase each day during the week, Tuesday's numbers were just shy of Monday's turnout.

"We missed Monday by seven votes," Smith said. "I'm trying to break records every day."

The trend of increased daily participation continued Wednesday, when 812 votes were cast.

The ratio of Republican to Democrat ballots isn't much different than in years past, with about 90 percent of voters casting Republican ballots.

During the first day of early voting in the 2006 primary, just 338 ballots were cast.

"Honestly, I think we're doing a better job of marketing and advertisement, as well as there being a lot of interest from a lot of people that maybe just like voting early," Smith said.

"We really want to have a higher percentage of people voting early, because that takes that much more pressure off of Election Day."

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at each of the county's 33 precincts.