COVINGTON, Ga. — The Newton County Board of Elections may change the voting status of some Covington apartment dwellers after finding they had been city residents but unable to vote in municipal elections.
The elections office did not know Leafstone Apartments on Brown Bridge Road was partially inside the city limits, officials said recently.
County GIS coordinator Scott Sirotkin said his staff recently determined about 23 of the apartment complex’s units are inside the Covington city limits.
Leafstone has about 230 total units, according to information from ApartmentFinder.com.
State legislators redrew Georgia House of Representatives districts in late 2021 in response to population shifts found in the 2020 federal census. Board chairman Phil Johnson said GIS staff workers discovered the oversight as they surveyed the county’s geographic area as part of the process of determining the boundaries of the new House districts in Newton County.
“The whole complex was set to vote in the county,” Johnson said.
Sirotkin told the board the city’s borders appear mostly as a circle on a map because Covington’s limits are legally the same distance in all directions from the center of the city.
As a result, the limits may cut through the middle of some properties without following property lines, Sirotkin said.
Johnson suggested asking the county attorney’s office to notify the Covington city attorney about the elections office’s suspicion about complex residents’ voting status.
He said officials did not know how many residents currently are affected. Elections officials will work with the complex’s owners to determine the number, Johnson said.
The board voted to direct Elections Director Angela Davis to list the units within the city to determine which residents are city voters.
It also voted to ask the county attorney to tell the Covington city attorney about the situation to allow the city to determine if other similar residential properties are affected in the same way.
In other action during the March 14 meeting, the Board of Elections:
• Voted to set Crossroads Baptist Church at 227 Highway 229 as the official Hub precinct location for Election Day voters this year.
• Determined the only Sunday voting day would be May 15 during the Advance Voting period before the May 24 primary elections. The location will be Church of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church at 4140 Clark St. in Covington.