Gwinnett voters cast primary ballots, rain or shine

Voters cast ballots at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth on May 22.

Credit: Amanda C. Coyne

Credit: Amanda C. Coyne

Voters cast ballots at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth on May 22.

Lance Tyler stood in a black raincoat, cheerfully thrusting a sign bearing his name in the air as rain relentlessly pelted Hamilton Mill United Methodist Church on Tuesday.

Tyler, a candidate for Gwinnett County state court judge, planned to stay at the polling place all day, rain or shine.

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Despite the rain, a steady stream of voters flowed in and out of the Dacula church around 11 a.m. Tuesday, casting ballots in the primary election. About 55 people had cast ballots by 11:10 a.m., a poll manager said.

Tyler, a Suwanee attorney, said he felt mentored by outgoing Gwinnett County State Court Judge Joseph Iannazzone. One of Tyler’s priorities as judge would be to continue Iannazzone’s commitment to court efficiency and maintaining defendants’ right to trial, he said.

The race between Tyler and attorney Ronda Colvin Leary will be decided by Tuesday’s election. The state judge race does not have any November election.

The rain subsided by noon in Duluth, where Christina Wheeler was voting at the Infinite Energy Center after forgetting to submit her absentee ballot. Wheeler had brought her daughter, who recently turned 18, to vote for the first time earlier that day. Education was one issue at the top of Wheeler’s mind because her daughter wants to be a teacher.

Wheeler pulled a Democratic ballot and voted for Stacey Evans in the governor’s race. In addition to Evans’ education policies, Wheeler liked that she knew how Evans planned to achieve her policy goals as governor.

“She has actual ideas about how to do what she wants to do,” Wheeler said. “Others had ideas, but wouldn’t or couldn’t say how they would achieve them.”

If Wheeler’s chosen candidates — including congressional candidate David Kim and lieutenant governor candidate Sarah Riggs Amico — do not win Tuesday night, she believes she will still be satisfied with her options in November.

“There are no candidates that I looked at and thought they were unfit,” Wheeler said.

Gwinnett County voters also took advantage of Spanish-language ballots Tuesday. The primary is the first election in which all voting materials are offered in both English and Spanish. Emperatriz Arbelaez, who also voted at the Infinite Energy Center, said that having the option to pull a ballot in her native language made the process easier.

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Here's a look at the major Gwinnett government and school races for the May 22 primary.