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Area polls open today for runoff

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today for the primary runoff election.

A total of 10 races will be on ballots in Gwinnett. Republicans will choose between candidates in eight of those races, while Democrats can choose between the top two vote-getters in two races.

For governor, former Secretary of State Karen Handel faces former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal for the GOP nod. The winner will face Democrat Roy Barnes, who won his party's primary election in July.

Republicans will also choose between Rob Woodall and Jody Hice in the race to succeed U.S. Rep. John Linder as the 7th District congressman. The winner will face Doug Heckman, a Democrat, in November.

Both races for the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners are also in the Republican runoff. In the District 2 area, Lynette Howard faces Keith Shewbert for the GOP's spot against Democrat Robert Lee Byars. For the District 4 seat, the GOP nomination is between John Heard and Tim Sullivan. The winner will face Democrat John Kenney.

Republicans B.J. Pak and Linda Carsten are still in the running for the Lilburn-based House District 102 seat. The winner will face Democrat Porter D. Deal this fall.

GOP runoffs also include an attorney general's race between Sam Olens and Preston Smith, an insurance commissioner bout between Ralph Hudgens and Maria Sheffield, and a Public Service Commission spot between Tim Echols and John Douglas.

Democrats will choose between incumbent state Rep. Toney Collins and Pamela Dickerson in the House District 95 race. The winner will face Republican Rodney Upton in November.

Democrats must also decide between Gail Buckner and Georganna Sinkfield for secretary of state.

Voters must vote within the same party they chose for the primary election in July, according to the Gwinnett County elections website. If a voter did not cast a ballot in the primary election, however, he or she may choose any party in the runoff.

Lynn Ledford, Gwinnett's elections director, said the turnout for a runoff election is historically between 7 and 10 percent.

"However, the governor's race is drawing quite a bit of attention, so it may go as high as 12 percent," she said.

To find your polling place and see sample ballots, visit the Secretary of State's My Voter Page at www.sos.georgia.gov/mvp.