After experiencing record turnout earlier this year, Dawson County has seen the polar opposite with advance voting so far in the Jan. 3 special election to fill the seat of late Georgia House District 7 Rep. David Ralston.
As of Dec. 13, only four people voted early in the election for the state house district, Board of Elections and Registration Director Glenda Ferguson confirmed to DCN.
Ga. District 7 includes all of Fannin and Gilmer counties and Dawson County’s western precinct area. People living in the central and eastern precincts are a part of Ga. District 9, which is represented by incumbent Will Wade.
Although it’s well known that voter participation can decrease in off-cycle elections, the notable lack of turnout has people involved in local elections doubling down on awareness efforts.
In addition to standard social media and newspaper advertising, local elections officials and political party members are now posting extra flyers and making phone calls to get the word out, Ferguson said.
“I understand Gilmer and Fannin both are lighter than what you [would] expect also, with about 120 votes or so each,” Ferguson added.
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8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday Dec. 12 through Dec. 30
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17
Central Precinct/Board of Elections office, located at 96 Academy Avenue in Dawsonville
7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 3
Western precinct- Fire Station no. 6 at 2142 Hubbard Road
Closed for the holidays: Dec. 23-26 and Jan. 2
Last day for western precinct voters to request an absentee ballot: Dec. 27
Runoff, as necessary: Jan. 31
If you are unsure whether you live in Dawson’s western precinct, you can check the Secretary’s of State’s “My Voting Page” at https://mvp.sos.ga.gov/s/ or call the local elections office at (706) 344-3640.
The qualified candidates for the Ga. House District 7 election are:
Brian K. Pritchard
Sheree Ralston, the widow of the state representative, has qualified for the seat. She lives in the Blue Ridge area and is the Fannin County Development Authority’s Executive Director.
Brian K. Pritchard of Cherry Log in Gilmer County has qualified. Pritchard works as a conservative radio talk show host and is CEO of media company FetchYourNews.
He currently faces accusations of voter fraud by the State Elections Board for which he has not been charged.
Banker Johnny Chastain, who also serves on the Fannin County Development Authority, is running for the District 7 seat.
U.S. Navy veteran and Gilmer County airport manager Justin Heitman has qualified, as has Gilmer County filmmaker Richie Stone.