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Early voting for July 26 runoff underway
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Early voting is underway for the July 26 runoff election to choose Dawson County's next sheriff and tax commissioner.

The advance voting period started Tuesday. Voters can cast their ballots from 8 a.m. - 5p.m. weekdays through July 22 at the Dawson County Elections and Voter Registration Office, located at 96 Academy Avenue, Dawsonville.

Polls will also be open Election Day from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. when voters must cast their ballots at their assigned precinct.

Tony Wooten, 38, won nearly 36 percent of the vote in the May 24 sheriff's race, which fielded four candidates.

Jeff Johnson, 45, won the second place slot with 27 percent of the vote to secure his place in the runoff with Wooten over Jeff Perry, a retired parole chief, and Frank Sosebee, who works in Hall County prison corrections.

It's been nearly 20 years since Dawson County elected five-term Sheriff Billy Carlisle as new sheriff, who did not seek re-election this year.

Wooten is a captain that serves as the department's public information officer and school resource supervisor. His entire 18-year career has been with the Dawson County Sheriff's Office, where he climbed the ranks and has commanded all but one division in the department.

Commander of the county's detention center, Maj. Johnson has been with the sheriff's office since 2004 with assignments ranging from investigations to training and internal affairs.

In the race for tax commissioner, Andi Henson Juliette with 29.42 percent of the vote edged past Nicole Stewart in second place with 24.88 percent to claim the title as top vote-getter.

Also in the race were lifelong Dawson County resident Johnny Glass with 23.87 percent and Karin McKee's 21.83 percent.

Elections require a candidate to receive 50 percent plus one vote to win outright and not face a runoff.

Juliette, 40, has served as the general manager at an outlet store for the past six years.

She previously worked as a congressional intern in the 9th District Congressional Office in Washington D.C. where she lived for four years.

Local banker Nicole Stewart, 32, is a licensed financial service specialist who has worked on local and state political campaigns in the past. She said she has worked closely with the tax commissioner's office on title work.

The winner of the July contest will succeed Linda Townley, who chose to not seek a fourth term.