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Election official pushes back on Lt. Gov. Duncan advance voting time claim
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Voters wrap around the Forsyth County Elections Office on Friday, Dec. 2 for the final day of advance voting for the Dec. 6 U.S. Senate runoff election. Photo by Ashlyn Yule - photo by Ashlyn Yule

A member of the Forsyth County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections has issued a statement regarding comments made by Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Forsyth County resident, about advance voting earlier this week.

In a CNN interview on Wednesday, Duncan said he showed up to vote earlier that morning, waited in line for “about an hour” and did not cast a ballot for either incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock or Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

“I showed up to vote this morning,” Duncan said. “I was one of those folks who got in line and spent about an hour waiting, and it was the most disappointing ballot I have ever stared at in my entire life since I started voting. I had two candidates that I just couldn’t find anything that made sense for me to put my vote behind, so I walked out of that ballot box showing up to vote but not voting for either one of them.”

Duncan, a former state legislator who represented south Forsyth County, has made several comments critical toward Walker during the election season after previously making national headlines for his criticisms of former President Donald Trump and Trump’s responses.

In a statement on Friday, Joel Natt, a Republican member of the Forsyth County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections, pushed back against Duncan’s claims and said the average wait time for Forsyth County’s advance voting locations was less than 15 minutes “with a few exceptions.”

“Yes, our current Lt. Governor, a Forsyth resident, voted on Wednesday in person,” Natt said in a public social media post on Friday. “But he did not take an hour to wait in line or anything. We, the Forsyth County Board of Election, know when he did vote and how long it took to get in and go to a machine, but I, as the Vice-Chairman, will not address it publicly at this time.

“But I can assure you no one in Forsyth is waiting 1 hour in any line.”

On Saturday morning, Natt said, with only one question on the ballot, voting had moved quickly despite lines at voting sites and no voters were waiting an hour in line.

“At no time, save someone showing up an hour before our polls open, should it take an hour in Forsyth County, and it doesn’t take an hour,” Natt said. “This ballot was so fast that the longest drag was you waiting in line because there were so many people in line to fill out your forms that everyone fills out when they check-in or how fast the scanner can eat a piece of paper.”

Natt said he spoke with voters at all four of the county’s advance voting locations on Friday, the last day of advance voting, and “no one experienced more than 15-to-20-minute wait.”

Natt said he issued his initial comment due to shorter wait times and because wanted to recognize the efforts of the county elections officials and volunteers in keeping elections moving.

“Our job, as board members, is to encourage people to want to come out and vote,” he said. “Our job is to thank and show support for those that do work the polls, whether it’s advance voting, day of or all the other aspects of the election, and our job is, at times like this, to stand in front of our director and say she is doing a great job.”

Duncan could not be reached for comment as of press time.

According to information from the Forsyth County Department of Voter Registrations and Elections, 49,463 voters cast ballots at the county’s four advance voting locations between Monday, Nov. 28 and Friday, Dec. 2.

The next chance for voters to cast ballots will be on Tuesday, Dec. 6, when polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Unlike advance voting, voters must go to their designated polling precinct to vote on Tuesday.

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