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Posted: March 10, 2011 7:36 p.m.

SPLOST early voting ends 5 p.m. today

If you don’t vote by 5 p.m. today in the SPLOST election, you’ll have to wait until the regular election on Tuesday.

The early voting period for SPLOST ends today. You can vote from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Newton County Administration Building, 1113 Usher St. N.W.

Through Thursday, 933 votes had been cast in office and more than 52 mail-in ballots had been received.

The SPLOST election will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the county’s standard voting precincts.

Newton County had 61,548 registered voters during the November General Election. In November, 52.9 percent of voters participated. About a third of votes were collected during early voting.

Turnout for SPLOST elections are generally low.

In 2005, turnout was 5.72 percent, with 1,449 "yes" votes and 825 "no" votes. Early voting was not available in Georgia until 2008, so no previous SPLOSTs have had early voting.

The 1995 SPLOST election had more participation when 3,243 residents voted in favor of SPLOST and 884 voted against. The number of registered voters was not recorded, according to Elections Supervisor Donna Morrison.

The 2000 SPLOST election was held during the presidential primary, which boosted the vote totals to 4,499 in favor and 2,747 opposed. Turnout was 27.8 percent.

According to county attorney Jenny Carter, the SPLOST election is held in March because that has allowed SPLOST collections to continue uninterrupted.

"State law establishes permissible election dates and timing. The March date was the only date that would allow collections to continue uninterrupted. State law did not permit this election to be held last November because collections must commence the following calendar quarter. This would have resulted in two authorized SPLOSTs at once and that is not permitted under state law," Carter wrote previously in an e-mail.

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