Advance voting period begins for primary

CONYERS - Election officials are encouraging residents to cast their ballots early this week for the July 15 primary election to avoid long lines at polling precincts on election day.

Beginning Monday, voters in Georgia can cast ballots in person during the advance voting. Anyone who is registered to vote can go to the local Board of Elections and Voter Registration offices in Covington and Conyers to cast their ballots.

Election officials in both Rockdale and Newton counties said they have experienced an increase in the number of registered voters this year. Rockdale has 51,130 registered voters, while Newton reported 49,606 voters for the July 15 primary election.

Rockdale County Elections Supervisor Cynthia Welch said the high number of registered voters this year means there will very likely be long lines at some of the precinct polling places. She said the advance voting period, which Georgia adopted in 2004, offered voters a convenience to vote with little or no waiting and a way to avoid the rush of voting on election day.

In Rockdale County, residents can vote at the Board of Elections office at the Parker Road facility, 1400 Parker Road, Lobby C. The office is open each day from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Voting will be extended to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

In Newton County, residents can cast ballots at the Board of Elections offices located in the county's administration building at 113 Usher St., Suite 103. The office is open each day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At stake are the Democratic and Republican candidate slots on the Nov. 4 general election ballots. Georgia is an open primary state, meaning voters can declare a party affiliation at the polling precinct.

Welch reminded all voters that Georgia law requires registered voters this year to show photo identification when voting in person.

There are six accepted forms of photo ID: a Georgia driver's license, even if expired; any valid state or federal government issued photo ID, including a free voter ID card issued by the county registrar or Georgia Department of Driver Services; a valid U.S. passport; a valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency or entity of the U.S. government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of the state; a valid U.S. military photo ID; or a valid tribal photo ID.

Newton County Elections Supervisor Donna Morrison said no in-person voting will be held at the Board of Elections office on July 14.

Jay Jones can be reached at jay.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.