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Advance primary voting gets under way July 7

COVINGTON - For those who want to try to beat the rush to the polls July 15, early voting will take place the week before the general primary.

Registered voters can cast their ballots between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. July 7 through 11 at the Board of Elections, located in the Newton County Administration Building at 1113 Usher St.

"I expect us to be very busy," Board of Elections Director Donna Morrison said.

In the past, early voting has seen a high turnout, Morrison said, but she added that doesn't necessarily mean lines will be shorter on primary day.

At the February presidential primary, "we still had a large turnout. A lot of people visited the polls. I don't see where it's reduced (the numbers)," Morrison said.

Voters are not required to give a reason why they want to vote early, Morrison said, but those who vote absentee must have an acceptable reason if they vote in person. Absentee voting is ongoing at the Board of Elections Office. Those who vote absentee by mail do not have to provide an excuse.

In-person absentee and early voters must show an acceptable from of photo ID when they come to vote, such as a valid Georgia driver's license, a current passport, a military or government issued ID.

There will be no early or absentee voting the Monday before the primary.

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 cast a ballot 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.

Anyone with questions about voter registration or in need of verifying their voting location can visit the Secretary of State's Web site at www.sos.state.ga.us or call the Board of Elections at 770-784-2055.

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