Georgia starts voting today in presidential race

Muscogee County residents can vote through Friday



Forget all the media hype about New Hampshire: Georgia's presidential preference primary starts today as early voting begins for the March 1 election.

Muscogee County residents can vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday in the community room of the City Services Center, 3111 Citizens Way, off Macon Road by the Columbus Public Library. That schedule continues through Friday, Feb. 26.

Voters also can cast ballots in advance there from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this coming Saturday and on Saturday, Feb. 20.

In Harris County, residents can cast ballots from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at the Courthouse Annex, 104 N. College St., in Hamilton. They also can vote there from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20.

Voters must show a government-issued photo ID to cast ballots.

The presidential race appears to be generating some interest here.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp last week announced that a record 54,385 residents registered online in the final week before the Feb. 1 deadline.

Kemp said 37,903 of the new registrations came from those signing up for the first time.

On the last day to register, 21,351 people used the online registration Web page, Kemp said.

As the time ran out, the traffic picked up, so the site was processing a user's request every three seconds.

Residents unsure of their registration status can check it online through the Secretary of State's "My Voter Page" at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov. That page also enables voters to download sample ballots.

Voters must choose either a Republican or Democratic ballot. Only presidential candidates will be on the March 1 ballot.

State party primaries and local elections are set for May 24.

State leaders in Georgia and Alabama moved the presidential primary date up to March 1 in an effort to make the South more relevant to the national campaigns.

Kemp is calling it the SEC or Southeastern Conference primary.

Alabamians have until Feb. 25, the Thursday before the Tuesday primary, to register in person.

Online they can register through Feb. 15 at the Alabama Secretary of State's website www.alabamavotes.gov.