The best way I know to help choose what direction our community, state or nation moves toward is by voting for people who best reflect our own beliefs. Voting is a sacred right that we have been given by those who came before us. Some have given their life defending this freedom; some have worked hard to see that right is not for a few but for all, and it would be a great shame if we don’t vote and instead allow that right to be wasted.
It is not the majority that determines who will lead us at any given time; it is the majority of those who care to be involved. After many months of campaigning and name calling, the time that really matters is upon us. It is time for the citizens to cast their votes. The challenge is to do it in a way that is informed. Let each of us ask the question of who is truly the best to lead us into the future.
Remember, we are not only voting for our nation’s president but important local elections, as well as several county-wide positions, including the Chair of our county board of commissioners.
Another big decision on this year’s ballot is for each of the state constitutional amendments. One this year could determine who has control over various schools in Georgia. The wording on many amendments can be confusing if you wait to decide until when you are voting. Just like your decision of a candidate, take the time to be informed on amendments as well, so your vote will be an informed one.
Remember those who will lead our community and our nation are not elected by the majority but by the majority that care enough to vote.
That is the hard part. The easy part is physically voting, with many options on when, where and how to cast a ballot.
In order to vote you must be registered. To vote in Newton County you must be a United States citizen and a legal resident of Georgia and Newton County, 18-years or older.
An application to register to vote can be downloaded and mailed in to the Newton County Board of Elections, P.O. Box 1274, Covington, GA, 30015. A copy of a current photo ID or a current utility bill, or bank statement, or a government document that shows your name and address is required. Those with a valid Driver’s License, containing a current address can register online. If anyone has doubts on their registration status, they can go to the “My Voter Page” on the board of elections website. By giving your name, county and birthdate you can make sure you are registered as well as find out your polling place.
The first date to remember for voting in this general election season is the deadline to register to vote — Oct. 11.
If you are undecided in the presidential race, these debate dates are important as well: Monday, Sept. 26; Sunday, Oct. 9 and Wednesday, Oct. 19. There will be one debate between the candidates for vice president on Tuesday, Oct. 4.
Once you know you are registered, you can avoid the long lines on Nov. 8 by taking advantage of advance voting. This does away with one excuse the people give for not voting, in that they don’t want to stand in line. You can vote Monday through Friday, Oct. 17 through Nov. 4. The place to do this for Newton County is at the Newton County Administration Building, 113 Usher Street, Covington. The hours each day are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For those who can’t get off to vote during the work week, there is one Saturday for Advance Voting, on Oct. 29. There are two places for Saturday voting, the County Administrative Building or the Porter Memorial Branch Library, 6191 Highway 212, Covington. The hours for Saturday voting at both locations are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
You can also get an application for an official absentee ballot at the “My Voter Page” of the board of elections website. The key date is that your request must be received by Nov. 4 and the ballot must be postmarked by 5 p.m. Nov. 8. You will also find guideline as to who can assist the one voting by Absentee Ballot.
Every vote is important. Many of us will remember how few votes determined the winner in Florida in the 2000 Presidential Election. This year appears to be one that many states may be very close in deciding a president, and a vote could make the difference. This is true of any local race as well. When you make the effort to vote may be the factor that makes a difference in our future.