Never in my life - my voting life, that is - have I had the opportunity to have a voice in the presidential primary. Actually, I won't again this time around either because I moved to Georgia a few weeks too late to be registered in time to vote on Feb. 5.
Georgia voters, along with voters from 21 other states that will get a chance to speak in the primary on Super Tuesday, have the privilege of casting a vote that will mean something because no candidate, at that time, will have received enough delegates for their party's nomination. This is a race where every vote counts and the outcome has a major impact on the future of our country.
Growing up in Mississippi, presidential primaries were never a big deal because the nominees were already decided for both parties by the time we were able to cast our votes. In 2000, I voted in a primary even though George W. Bush and Al Gore had both already secured their nominations before we voted in March - it was the same in 2004.
In 2008, I'm out of luck again.
I guess I will just have to sit back and watch the story unfold as a spectator instead of a participant, which I really hate to do. I just hope every registered voter takes the task put in front of them as seriously as I do.
Despite the probability that the Republican and Democratic candidates may not be known by Feb. 6, the outcome of those primaries will weed out the minor candidates and set up the final showdowns between the front runners. Georgians need to turn out in record numbers to weigh in on the primary.
Just being able to say that you voted in an election for the history books should be enough to get you to the polls no matter the weather or the long lines.
Other than the presidential primaries, Newton County residents will also vote on a homestead exemption referendum for senior citizens.
The referendum calls for a homestead exemption from Newton County school district ad valorem taxes. The exemption is in the amount of $30,000 of the assessed value of the homestead for those 65 years old or older. There is also an income cap of $25,000 annually in the referendum.
The referendum has significance because the same measures are currently being examined by the county board of commissioners and could result in another exemption referendum being on the ballots in November.
In Porterdale, voters will cast votes in a special two-part election to name a new city council member for post 3 and to vote on an alcohol referendum for the city.
With so many important and weighty issues on the ballots for Feb. 5, I don't see that there's much of an option on whether or not to go to the polls.
If you're registered to vote, I encourage you to do so. If you're not registered to vote, I encourage you to do so before the next round of elections this summer.
If nothing else, cast a ballot for me - I will envy your, "Yes, I Voted" stickers.
Robby Byrd is the editor of The Covington News. He can be reached at rbyrd@covnews.