COVINGTON, Ga. — Early voters in this year's Newton County General Primary election were on pace to almost double the number who voted early in the last mid-term primary election in 2018.
With contested races for both parties up and down the ballot, this year's turnout appears to be well on its way to exceeding the 18% final turnout in 2018.
Newton County has 19% more active registered voters this year compared to 2018. However, 61% more voters had cast ballots during the first 15 days of the Advance Voting period this year than at the same point in 2018, according to information from Newton's Elections & Registration office.
A total of 5,004 had voted in-person through the first 15 days at the county's two early voting locations near the Covington Square and on Georgia Hwy. 212 in southwest Newton.
Of that total, 2,268 voted in the Republican primary and 2,693 in the Democratic primary. The remainder only voted in nonpartisan races such as Superior Court judge where incumbents Layla Zon and Cheveda McCamy were unopposed.
This year's early voting period featured Saturday and Sunday opportunities for the first time. It also offered contested party primaries for Congress; governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state House and Senate; and locally for county Board of Commissioners and school board.
In 2018, only 3,089 cast ballots through the first 15 days of early voting before the 2018 General Primary.
The 2018 primaries resulted in then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp winning a hotly contested race for the Republican nomination for governor and former House Majority Leader Stacey Abrams being chosen as the Democratic nominee in the statewide vote.
Newton's County's increased turnout is well below the statewide turnout for in-person early voting which has almost tripled from the same time in 2018, the Secretary of State's office reported.
So far in 2022 early voting, 539,297 Georgians have cast ballots — a 195% increase from 182,684 at the same point in 2018.
Elections this year are called "mid-term" because they are occurring in the middle of the sitting president's four-year term. In recent years, they generally have been viewed as referendums on the sitting president's first two years in office.
Early voting in Newton County's General Primary election continues Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at two locations: Prospect United Methodist Church at 6752 Hwy. 212 in Covington, and Good Shepherd Episcopal Church at 4140 Clark St. SW in Covington.
Absentee ballots can be mailed in to the Board of Elections office at 1113 Usher St., Suite 103, P.O. Box 1274, Covington, GA 30015. By state law, if a person votes by mail identification information is required to be provided with the absentee ballot application.
They also can be placed in a drop box Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. only through Tuesday, May 24, in the lobby of the Board of Elections office in Suite 103 of the Newton County Administration Building at 1113 Usher St., Covington.
In-person voting on Election Day on May 24 will run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the voter's assigned precinct in Newton County.
To find an assigned Election Day precinct, visit www.mvp.sos.ga.gov or call 770-784-2055.
For more information, call 770-784-2055 or visit http://www.co.newton.ga.us/167/Board-of-Elections-Registration.