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Posted: October 9, 2009 12:30 a.m.

Early voting for Nov. 3 elections open until Oct. 30

City council elections aren’t until Nov. 3, but residents in Newton County’s cities will be able to cast their vote early.

The Newton County Board of Elections handles election duties for Covington, where early voting is already in process. Residents can come to the county Administration Building with a photo ID and cast their vote from now until Oct. 30. As of Wednesday, 10 votes had been cast in the race between incumbent Hawnethia Williams and Charles Wilborn.

Oxford is also allowing residents to come in now to city hall and vote during normal office hours, City Clerk Carol Poole said.

Porterdale’s early voting will start Monday at its city hall during normal hours, City Manager Tom Fox said.

Mansfield will not have an election, because none of the incumbents face opposition. Only one seat is being contested in each of Covington, Oxford and Porterdale, so officials don’t expect a huge turnout, Fox said.

Newborn early voting starts Monday at Newborn Town Hall from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every weekday, Town Clerk Lisa Rowe said. Newborn has three candidates running for mayor, but Rowe said they had three candidates in the 1997 election as well and only 85 people voted.

Early voting must take place in all cities at least 21 days prior to an election; the process was started to relieve the congestion of voting lines on Election Day.

Residents can apply to receive an absentee ballot before Election Day from their local city hall or the county Administration Building. Once a person receives an absentee ballot, it must be filled out and returned to the appropriate election office by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3. Residents can also print off a request form for an absentee ballot online, but they must mail, fax or return it to the appropriate election office. These request forms can be found at sos.ga.gov/elections/quick_access.

According to the state’s Web site, voters must present a photo ID to vote, early or on Election Day, including any of the following:

• Any valid state or federal government issued photo ID

• Georgia Driver’s License, even if expired

• Valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state

• Valid U.S. passport ID

• Valid U.S. military photo ID

• Valid American Indian Tribal photo ID

If residents don’t have one of these forms of photo ID, they can get a state Voter Identification Card from the Newton County BOE or the Department of Driver Services Office for no cost.

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