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Voting is an individual right that defines our nation and our democratic principles. Voting is our opportunity to voice our views to policy makers at all levels of government.

 Citizens in Newton County will go to the polls on Tuesday, Sept. 18, and I want to ensure that you are aware of Georgia's law requiring photo identification for in-person voting.

Beginning with the September 18 elections, voters casting their ballots in person are required to show one of the following forms of photo ID.

 • A Georgia driver's license, even if expired

• Any valid state or federal government issued photo ID, including a free Voter ID Card issued by your county registrar or Georgia Department of Driver Services

• Valid U.S. passport

• 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. military photo ID

• Valid tribal photo ID

If you do not have one of these forms of identification, you can receive a free Georgia Voter Identification Card at the Newton County Board of Elections and Registration at 8146 Carlton Trail, P.O. Box 1274, Covington, GA 30014-1274.

They can be reached by telephone (770) 784-2055 or by Fax at (770) 784-2057.

You can also visit your local Georgia Department of Driver Services Customer Service Center from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday at 8134 Geiger St., Covington GA 30014

Voters can call our toll-free hotline at (877) 725-9797 or visit our website at for more information and to get questions answered.

Voters who choose to vote absentee ballot by mail do not need a photo ID. Absentee ballots can be requested in person or by mail from the Newton County Board of Elections and Registration Office or download an Absentee Ballot Application from our website at

Even if you do not plan to vote in September, I encourage you to make sure you have an acceptable form of photo ID, so you will be prepared for all future elections.

When you vote, you can make a difference. So please ... get out and vote, and remember to bring a photo ID.

Georgia Secretary of State Karen C. Handel can be reached at (404) 656-2881.