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Primary election Tuesday
BOC, state House contests on ballot
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Advanced voting continues through Friday for the May 20 primary election.

Polls at the county's three precincts will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on Election Day.

The local ballot features contested races for the county's District 1 commission seat and for the state House District 7 post.

Three candidates - Kevin Ellison, Sharon Fausett and Corey Guthrie - are vying to succeed Gary Pichon as commissioner. Pichon is not seeking re-election.

Ellison, a police major in DeKalb County with a 30-year career in county government, said his primary focus is on public safety.

"[It] should be our No. 1 priority above anything else, making sure that our EMS and our fire have the best equipment available and the proper number of personnel to keep the call response time low," he said.

Gutherie said his education and experience in engineering "leads itself to being a great commissioner." A graduate of Georgia Tech, he most recently served as an engineer for the county government.

"I also studied transportation, environmental engineering and ... our impact on our environment and our surroundings," he said. "Then I went to the private sector and worked as a design engineer, designed roads and bridges, storm systems, sanitary sewers ... parks and trails."

Fausett, a political newcomer and agritourism entrepreneur, has focused on her deep roots in the county. Her grandchildren are the seventh generation to live on the family's farmland.

"I'm into preservation, protection and conservation," she said. "I want other people to have the way of life that I have had. I'm fully invested in this place."

A candidate must secure 50 percent plus one vote to claim victory. If that doesn't happen, the top two vote-getters head to a July 22 runoff election.

In the House race, Sam "Coach" Snider has challenged incumbent Rep. David Ralston for the District 7 post.

Ralston has touted his experience in the legislature, which includes serving the last three years as Speaker of the House, while Snider has chided career politicians throughout the course of the campaign.

"Serving this county for the past 12 years has been one of the most humbling and satisfying and greatest honors that I've had in my lifetime," Ralston said. "I don't try to bring Atlanta back up here. I try to bring the values that we hold dear and I try to take those to Atlanta."

Snider agreed that representing the values voters hold dear is important, but has questioned whether Ralston remains in touch with the views of local constituents.

"I continue to live there, I work there and I know a lot of people and I get to hear from them as I go door to door about what's important to them," he said.

"It is my opinion that we are no longer represented at the same level that we might have been earlier on."

Of Dawson County's 12,905 registered voters, 1,178 are in District 7, which spans west from the Emma community at Crane Road on Hwy. 136 and Afton Road on Elliott Family Parkway.

The elections likely will be determined in the May 20 primary as no Democrats qualified for the race.

The early voting period runs through Friday. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 524 voters had cast ballots.

Sample ballots are available online and at the Dawson County Board of Elections and Voter Registration office, located at 96 Academy Ave., Dawsonville is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Registered voters must present one form of photo identification before voting.

Those include: Georgia driver's license; valid state or federal government-issued photo ID; U.S. passport; U.S. military photo ID; tribal photo ID; or an employee photo ID from any federal, state or local government.

The Dawson County website advises voters who have questions to visit the "My Voter Page" at to find polling places, maps and more information.

For more information, call the elections office at (706) 344-3640.