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Early voting has been slow going
Elections happening in Gainesville, Flowery Branch, Clermont
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The first day of early voting for three local elections got off to a slow start, but officials are optimistic that turnout will improve.

"We didn’t have any early voters today, but I’m expecting some tomorrow," Clermont City Clerk Sandra Helton said.

Four people are running for three vacant seats on the town’s five-member council: John Brady, Emily Harper, Albert Reeves and Seth Weaver.

Brady and Weaver are incumbents. Councilman Bill Jones is not seeking re-election.

City officials in Flowery Branch had a quiet day as well.

"We’ve had four voters today," said Martha Stephens, who works in the city’s utility billing department.

Four candidates are vying for two seats on the Flowery Branch City Council: Craig Lutz and incumbent Jim Herold for Post 1, and Kellin Dobbs and Chris Fetterman for Post 2.

The only incumbent running in the election is Herold, who has been on the council for four years.

The Hall County elections office had the most turnout on Monday, with about 15 people coming in to vote in the Gainesville City Board of Education race.

"It’s been steady," elections clerk Lynn Story said. "Kind of a trickle here and a trickle there, but they’re coming in."

The city school board has three seats open in the Nov. 6 election, but only one is contested.

Political newcomers Sammy Smith and Eric Oliver are competing for the Ward 5 seat being vacated by board member Frank Harben.

Though Monday was a slow day in Clermont, Helton said people have been calling wanting to confirm that early voting had started and inquiring about absentee voting.

So far no Clermont residents have voted absentee, she said.

Helton had a theory about why no people came to the polls on Monday.

"I think people just started reading the paper today," she said.

Story is also optimistic that voter turnout will increase.

"I think each day will get busier," she said.

Stephens said that 13 Flowery Branch residents have voted in the city council election so far, including absentee ballots.

She did not know what kind of turnout can be expected for the rest of the week.

"With this new subdivision (Sterling on the Lake) you never can tell," Stephens said.

Three of the four city council candidates live in the massive subdivision off Spout Springs Road.

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