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Posted: October 31, 2010 12:00 a.m.

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Candidates go door to door one last time

Candidates continue to pound the pavement this weekend, canvassing neighborhoods, greeting residents in shopping centers and making the rounds to area churches.

Halloween weekend provides the last chance for candidates to garner those last few, possibly crucial votes as Election Day approaches.

Pam Dickerson, Democratic candidate for State Representative 95, greeted residents at shopping centers and gas stations up and down the Salem Road corridor Friday, and said she planned to do a big neighborhood canvassing effort Saturday.

Republican Rickie Corley and Democrat Lanier Sims, candidates for District 2 Board of Commissioners, both said they would also be visiting neighborhoods this weekend.

"I plan to meet as many people as I can," Corley said. "Even if (several thousand) people have voted early, there are a still a lot out there who haven’t made up their mind. Going door-to-door and talking to people is more valuable than doing robocalls or things like that."

As of around 3 p.m. Friday, 8,396 people had voted early in Newton County, but long lines persisted through the rest of the afternoon and voting was taking place well after 5 p.m. As of the end of Thursday, 1,406 absentee ballots had been mailed out to voters, with 926 returned. The early voting total for the state was 637,891 as of the end of the day Thursday, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

Because this is the first non-presidential federal election year with early voting in place, Newton County Elections Supervisor Donna Morrison said she couldn’t determine whether voting was trending higher this year. However, elections officials were pleased with the high turnout the week before the election.

All candidates said they were feeling good heading into the weekend, including Sims, who said he planned to visit several churches on Sunday in addition to neighborhoods.

Polling isn’t typically done for most state and local races, so candidates have a difficult time determining the

highly anticipated U.S. Congressional across the country, as the country wonders how many House and Senate seats the Republicans will pick up.

Democrat Jim Marshall and Republican Austin Scott, candidates for the U.S. Congressional District 8 seat, have both been running television ads constantly in an effort to sway voters in a race that’s viewed as a bellwether contest for the entire country.

The latest polls show that Scott has pulled ahead significantly, boasting a 13 percent lead in two separate polls. Landmark Communications, a political consulting and communications firm based in metro Atlanta, conducted a poll of 1,133 of randomly selected, active voters on Tuesday, and 52.5 percent of voters supported Scott to 39.1 percent for the incumbent Marshall. The Hill, a political newspaper in Washington D.C., also showed Scott up by 13 points.

Landmark also conducted a poll for the Georgia District 7 U.S. Congressional race, the open seat vacated by retiring U.S. Representative John Linder (R-Duluth). The poll was conducted on Monday, and of 1070 voters reached, 60 percent were in favor of Republican Rob Woodall, with only 30 percent supporting Democrat Doug Heckman.

The polls are open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; however, anyone waiting in line as of 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote. Voters must vote at their assigned precinct and must present a valid Driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID.

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