Our thoughts Time to vote

The Covington News - - OPINION -

This may be the tough­est year yet for the voter. Both ma­jor party can­di­dates for Pres­i­dent of­fer change — one can­di­date might be the least po­lit­i­cal pres­i­dent and the other our first fe­male com­man­der in chief. The third party can­di­date shows the strong­est sup­port in re­cent his­tory. This is too big to ig­nore. A vote for the can­di­date you think is best — or at least not the worst — is more im­por­tant than ever. It seems Amer­ica is at a cross­roads.

But, aside from the pres­i­den­tial race that gets so much at­ten­tion, there are many lo­cal rea­sons why this year’s vote is im­por­tant.

Sev­eral amend­ments are on this year’s bal­lot that will af­fect Ge­or­gia well into the fu­ture, in­clud­ing the Op­por­tu­nity School District, which has gar­nered much re­cent at­ten­tion con­cern­ing claims that the state could take fail­ing schools over from in­di­vid­ual dis­tricts. There are three other pro­posed con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments on the bal­lot, in­clud­ing penal­ties for sex­ual ex­ploita­tion and as­sess­ments on adult en­ter­tain­ment to fund child vic­tims’ ser­vices; re­forms and re-es­tab­lish­ment of the Ju­di­cial qual­i­fi­ca­tions Com­mis­sion­ers; and a ded­i­ca­tion of rev­enue from ex­ist­ing taxes on fire­works to trauma care, fire ser­vices and pub­lic safety.

There are also races for United States Se­nate and a U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, along with state pub­lic ser­vice com­mis­sioner, sen­a­tors and rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

In New­ton County, vot­ers will de­cide on their next county chair, tax com­mis­sioner and coro­ner. Other of­fices are on this year’s bal­lot, and even though they are un­con­tested races — such as sher­iff, district at­tor­ney, pro­bate judge, clerk of su­pe­rior court and more — the can­di­dates will need at least one vote to claim vic­tory.

If you have not de­cided on these lo­cal elec­tions, we sug­gest you do the re­search and be­come an ed­u­cated voter. Read the cov­er­age this news­pa­per has pro­vided on can­di­dates and is­sues in pre­vi­ous edi­tions as well as what will be pub­lished in the com­ing weeks. Seek out op­por­tu­ni­ties to talk to can­di­dates. Par­tic­i­pate in dis­cus­sions on the is­sues in or­der to learn more.

For those who have al­ready de­cided, they have to wait no more. Early vot­ing starts Mon­day.

Polls open at 8 a.m. at the New­ton County Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing, 1113 Usher Street, stay­ing open un­til 5 p.m. at that lo­ca­tion. Start­ing on Oc­to­ber 31, res­i­dents can also vote early from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Porter Me­mo­rial Branch of the New­ton County Li­brary Sys­tem, 6191 High­way 212.

Vot­ers have one Satur­day at which to cast their early vote – Oc­to­ber 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the New­ton County Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing.

With the pull of a con­stant work sched­ule, busy home life, and more ac­tiv­i­ties than ever avail­able to us, get­ting to the polls on the first Tues­day in Novem­ber is a tough task.

Early vot­ing pro­vides plenty of chances to pick a time when the rush isn’t on to cast your bal­lot.

In March, 43.18 per­cent of the lo­cal reg­is­tered vot­ers (22,149) cast a bal­lot in the pres­i­den­tial pri­mary. That elec­tion nar­rowed the pres­i­den­tial field down from sev­eral Repub­li­can can­di­dates and Clin­ton and Bernie San­ders.

In the May Pri­mary, three Com­mis­sion seats and party can­di­dates for the Chair­man of the Board of Com­mis­sion­ers were de­cided by just 18.49 per­cent of New­ton County vot­ers. Only 9,878 peo­ple wanted the right to de­cide who could make de­ci­sions for our county and lead our com­mu­nity. New­ton County needs to do bet­ter. We en­cour­age any­one who is reg­is­tered to vote – we are speak­ing di­rectly to you, one of the 71,059 New­ton County res­i­dents that are reg­is­tered to vote — to head to the New­ton County Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing, Porter Me­mo­rial li­brary, or clear their sched­ules for Nov. 8.

We urge you to ex­er­cise your right and to rock the vote.

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