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17,000 absentee ballots requested in Newton County
More than 21% of voters opt out of in-person voting
Counting absentees
Newton County Board of Elections members help elections staff members count absentee ballots after the Aug. 11, 2020, runoff. (FILE)

COVINGTON, Ga. — Nearly 17,000 absentee ballots have been requested in Newton County, meaning more than 21% of voters are opting out of in-person voting.

According to Newton County Board of Elections and Registration Director Angela Mantle, the elections office has already received and processed 16,775 ballot requests for the General Election as of Thursday, Oct. 8, at 11 a.m. 

The cumulative total has surpassed the county’s record for number of applications for an election. The previous record came in the 2018 General Election when Mantle said her office received and processed 3,429 absentee ballot applications. She said only 2,747 of those ballots were accepted and counted among the official election results.

Many voters nationwide are reverting to submitting absentee ballots or voting by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the board of elections has ensured measures are in place to allow voters to cast their ballots safely in person.

"Safe distancing will be maintained at the polls and hand sanitizer will be available for everyone," Philip Johnson, chairman of the Board of Elections, previously told The Covington News. "Masks will be strongly encouraged."

Early in-person voting begins Monday, Oct. 12.

If voters do not feel safe casting their ballot in person, absentee ballots can be requested on the Georgia My Voter Page. Absentee ballots may be requested any time between 180 days prior to the election and the end of the business day on the Friday before Election Day.

Absentee ballots will be accepted until the polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3. 

There are two drop off locations for Newton County residents to turn in their ballot — the north entrance of the Newton Administration Building, located at 113 Usher St. in Covington, and Newton County’ Westside Precinct, located at 3612 Salem Road (Kroger Shopping Plaza) in Covington.

There are 78,388 active voters registered to cast their ballot in Newton County, according to the Board of Elections, which is nearly three-quarters of the area’s population (111,744 as of 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau). Only 4,865 registered voters were considered inactive.

For more information or questions about the election, contact the Newton County Board of Elections and Registration at 770-784-2055 or visit