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Primary turnout high in Newton County

COVINGTON - More than 45 percent of Newton County's registered voters participated in Super Tuesday's presidential preference primary.

A total of 21,223 ballots were cast at precincts around the county, as well as through early and absentee voting. A total of 9,732 Republican and 11,394 Democratic ballots were completed, according to unofficial results from the Newton County Board of Elections. The results are scheduled to be certified Friday.

The county has a total of 46,440 registered voters, both active and inactive.

Donna Morrison, Board of Elections director, said Wednesday the election's turnout may have been a record for the county. Until the election results are certified, "I can't say for certain," she said.

By comparison, the 2004 presidential preference primary saw 21 percent voter turnout.

Before Tuesday's election, Morrison had predicted more than 20 percent of the county's 45,911 active registered voters would come out.

She said this year's high number of voters who took advantage of advanced voting could have helped keep lines shorter than they might have been at the county's 22 voting precincts; more than 2,600 voters filed advanced and absentee ballots, including 1,431 Democrats and 1,201 Republicans.

"I do know we had lines at different points in the day," Morrison said Wednesday. "But nobody called to complain, so I don't think it was too bad."

The polls at the Downs precinct, at Prospect United Methodist Church off Ga. Highway 212, opened about 15 minutes late because workers didn't have keys to the new touchscreen voting machines, Morrison said.

Other than that, Newton County's voting process went "very, very well," she said Tuesday.

Citizen reporter Crystal Tatum contributed to this article.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.