Forsyth County Board of Elections Releases Details About 2022 Advanced Voting


Used with permission from Ayesha Raparla

Polling Volunteering. SFHS IB students volunteer at the Cumming polling station for the 2021 election cycle. The Forsyth County Board of Elections recently decided on new regulations that would affect these polling stations for the 2022 cycle.

Naisha Roy, Copy Editor

On Friday, February 11th, 2022, the Forsyth County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections (BRE) called a special meeting to discuss the updates to advance voting procedures and locations for the 2022 Election Cycle. The meeting lasted from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and delineated regulations surrounding both the November 8th general election and the upcoming primaries in Summer 2022.

The BRE approved 28 precincts for Forsyth County this year including Cumming, Mashburn, and Daves Creek. Forsyth County BRE Director Mandy Smith reported that the Cumming First United Methodist Church would not be available as a polling location for the Mountainside precinct, and suggested the Friendship Baptist Church and Saints Raphael, Nicholas, and Irene Greek Orthodox Church as possible replacements. In addition, the committee removed three precincts from the previous election cycle, in locations including Browns Bridge, Polo, and Sawnee.

Additionally, Vice Chairman Joel Natt made a motion to adopt 28 new polling locations to correspond with the previously approved polling districts, and the motion carried unanimously. The Cumming location will be Cumming City Hall, with absentee votes going to the BRE office.

The second topic of the meeting was advance voting. The committee decided that the four minimum advance voting locations for the 2022 cycle would be Sharon Springs Park, Midway Park, Hampton Park Library and the Elections Office. Advance voting dates and times for both the primary election and the general election are located in the following infographic: 

Advanced Voting Times and Locations by naisharoy9

Finally, the meeting concluded with a discussion of Sunday voting, which was the first non-unanimous decision of the day. Currently, the BRE expects Sunday voting to occur from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 15th, 2022 only at the election office; however, this date is subject to change and Sunday voting is expected to undergo further consideration prior to the November election. 

The meeting ended with a public comment by Jerry Marinich, Chairman of the Forsyth County Republican Party, before adjourning at 1:46 p.m.

After the meeting, we spoke to Director Mandi Smith on the challenges and benefits of her job at the Board of Voter Registrations and Elections as well as ways citizens could get involved in the polling process.

What is it like doing your job in the tense climate we have today?

“Honestly, our job today is the same as it was 16+ years ago when I first started in this department – to facilitate safe and secure elections for all. We do our best to stay focused on the tasks at hand, regardless of what is going on around us.”

What is the most rewarding part of what you do?

“The role of the Voter Registrations & Elections Department staff and the role of poll workers is the most a-political, non-partisan part of the elections process. We are here to provide a smooth, safe, and secure voting experience for all voters. Once an election has come and gone, there are generally a few moments when we reflect on what has been accomplished.  

“You step back and focus on the fact that voters took advantage of the opportunity and that it was made possible by the hard work and efforts by you and your staff. So whether one person or 100,000 people come out to vote – it’s a pretty cool feeling to know that your role in the process was instrumental in making it all possible.”

What is the most challenging part of what you do?

“To some extent, it is the same answer as what is the most rewarding part of what we do—everyday brings new challenges. Our department is entrusted with a substantial responsibility and we take that very seriously. That responsibility can certainly seem challenging at times. That being said, we take it one step at a time and have confidence in our abilities to get the job done. 

“The issue we are currently finding the most challenging is recruiting poll workers who have the necessary availability to work during the upcoming election cycle.”   

Have you faced any difficulties in deciding the rules and regulations for advance voting, and if so, how do you deal with them?

“Georgia Election Code outlines the rules and regulations with regards to Advance Voting. Election Code dictates the following: the minimum number of days each county may be open for Advance Voting, the minimum hours each location may be open for Advance Voting, and what location is required to be open for Advance Voting and the options for opening additional locations. It is our responsibility to ensure we follow the law with regards to Advance Voting.  When it comes to the optional items (extended voting hours, additional locations, Sunday voting days), those are decisions the Board of Voter Registrations & Elections are tasked with deciding.” 

What do you take into consideration when deciding advance voting locations and times?

“There are several items we take into consideration when researching Advance Voting locations and voting hours. One of the first qualifiers is whether or not the facility is available for all or part of the Advance Voting period. The Board of Voter Registrations & Elections is always interested in hearing from the public. Most recently, we hosted an online input form where members of the public could share their thoughts about Advance Voting options. Additionally, we look at statistics from previous voter turnout. Statistics from previous election cycle voter turnout provides us with some trends. Statistically, turnout varies whether or not the election is a primary versus a general election or whether it is a gubernatorial election year versus a presidential election year.  

“Additionally, we can look to see the methods by which different areas of the county voted in previous election cycles – by mail, on Election Day or during Advance Voting to get a feel for what might be the best fit. Forsyth County has held Advance Voting in several different facilities and has set different Advance Voting hours over the last 10+ years. We can use statistics to aid in gauging whether a particular facility was successful as an Advance Voting location.”    

What would you say to young people and future voters about the importance of voting and civic participation?

“I would encourage all persons who are interested in the election process to educate themselves. Take a few minutes to review the locations and hours of voting before heading out to vote. Take a few minutes to verify you are currently registered to vote and your registration information is up to date. Take a few minutes to review your Sample Ballot before arriving at the polling place. If you are interested, I would encourage you to consider serving as a poll worker. Serving as a poll worker is a valuable way to familiarize yourself with the election process.  Keep in mind – a person as young as age 16 may serve as a poll worker.”

People interested in serving as a poll worker can visit to view additional qualifications for serving as a poll worker, or email [email protected] for more information about signing up.