Election Day has arrived

COVINGTON - The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for today's general primary to determine which candidates will make it to November.

Local contested races on the ballot include county commission districts 1, 3 and 5 and the chairman's seat, sheriff and tax commissioner.

More than 2,400 ballots had already been cast through early and absentee voting as of 4:30 p.m. Monday, according to the Newton County Board of Elections.

A total of 1,504 Republican ballots and 909 Democratic ballots have been cast. There are still at least 41 Republican and 52 Democratic mailed ballots that have yet to be returned.

Voters must show an acceptable from of photo ID at the polls, such as a valid Georgia driver's license, a current passport, a military or government issued ID.

Those in line at 7 p.m. will still have the chance to vote.

Board of Elections Director Donna Morrison encouraged voters to check their registration cards or visit the Secretary of State's Web site at www.sos.state.ga.us, or call the Board of Elections at 770-784-2055 to find their polling place.

"We'll be here. We'll answer their calls. We're hoping everybody will visit the Web site and find out in advance if at all possible," she said.

Election results will be posted as they come in tonight at the Board of Elections Office in the Newton County Administration Building at 1113 Usher St.

In the primary, voters must vote Republican or Democrat across the board and must stick with their chosen party in the event of a runoff.

However, voters can mix parties in the Nov. 4 general election regardless of how they voted in the primary.

Those eligible to vote in the primary who do not vote may still vote if there is a runoff, and voting in the primary is not required to vote in the general election. The registration deadline for that election is Oct. 6.

An election sign posted in front of Almon Community House polling location was removed Monday by Board of Elections staff. Candidates are prohibited from campaigning within 150 feet of a polling place.

"They shouldn't be posting any at all right at a polling location," Morrison said. She added that the Board of Elections will ask candidates to remove any signs on private property that violate the distance requirement.

In related news, Our Brothers and Sisters Keeper, which normally broadcasts on Sundays, will hold special election editions from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. today and Wednesday on WGFS 1430 AM. Election results will be announced Wednesday and host Deacon Forrest Sawyer will speak with winners and losers. The broadcast can also be heard at www.irieatl.com.

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