Runoff election held today

COVINGTON - Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today for the runoff election that will decide who will be on the November ballot in three important local races.

Tabulation and posting of the results will take place at the Newton County Board of Elections Office in the Newton County Administration Building, located at 1113 Usher St. Results will be projected on an overhead screen, according to Board of Elections Chairman Hugh Steele.

Local seats to be decided in the run-off include the Republican nomination for sheriff, which pits Covington Police Chief Stacey Cotton against Lt. Bill Watterson of the Newton County Sheriff's Office.

Businesswoman Kathy Morgan will face developer Hubert White for the Democratic nomination for county commission chairman, and Jimmy Clark Jr. and Nancy Schulz are both trying to secure the Democratic nomination for the County Commission District 3 seat.

In the runoff, voters must stick with the party they chose in the primary. Those who were eligible but did not vote in the primary may still vote in the runoff.

During advance voting July 28 through Friday, a total of 1,184 ballots were cast - 593 Democratic and 591 Republican - according to the Newton County Board of Elections.

Only 22 percent of the county's 49,538 registered voters turned out for the July 15 primary, much less than election officials predicted.

Steele predicted less than 10 percent of voters would participate in the runoff.

"I've got a fairly low expectation based on the primary," he said.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.