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Posted: June 6, 2010 12:00 a.m.

Early voting to begin for crowded primary

One of the most crowded local election years in recent history officially starts Monday with early voting for the July 20 primary.

Early votes can be cast at the Newton County Board of Elections located in the administration building at 1113 Usher Street from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday until July 16. Residents must have registered to vote, which they can do for the primary until June 21, and they must bring a photo ID.

Residents do not have to choose a political party when they register, but they can only vote in one when they register, but they can only vote in one party's primary. If there are runoffs, residents can only vote for the same party that they voted for in the primary.

Newton County has seven contested races and 43 candidates for its various local, state and federal seats.

The Newton County Board of Education race is particularly crowded as 12 candidates vie for three open seats, districts 1, 3 and 5. The District 3 BOE seat is the most crowded local race with six candidates, including five democratic qualifiers.

The single most crowded race is the U.S. representative District 7 seat, which has nine candidates. In February, current representative John Linder (R-Duluth) announced he would be retiring after serving 18 years in the U.S. Congress.

The only race that will not be contested this year is the state representative District 112 seat, in which incumbent Doug Holt (R-Social Circle) is unopposed.

Residents may also request an absentee ballot up to 180 days before an election. Request forms can be picked up from the board of elections or printed at sos.georgia.gov/elections/elections/voter_information/absentee.htm and must be turned in to the board of elections before July 16 for the primary. Absentee ballots must be submitted to the board of elections before the close of voting on Election Day.

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