Published 12:03 am Friday, February 17, 2012

Kevin Kennedy, county maintenance supervisor, instructs Margaret Gross and Lewis Carpenter on how to use the keypad. | Stephanie Nelson/Star-News


With the March primary quickly approaching, local residents should be mindful of important practices that will allow them to cast a ballot such as registering to vote or casting an absentee ballot.

At present count, more than 21,000 residents will be eligible to vote in upcoming March primary election.

In total, there are 21,605 registered voters in the county; of those, 19,758 are listed as “active” voters, meaning they cast a ballot in the 2010 election, said Virginia Merritt of with the county’s Board of Registrar’s office.

“It’s up from the last count,” Merritt said. “We’ve had a pretty good flow of people coming in during recent weeks. I fully expect us to break the 20,000 mark with active voters.”

In 2010, there were 21,480 people registered to vote in the Nov. 2 presidential election. In 2008, there were 22,114 people registered to vote. Two years earlier, that number was down to 19,861.

Multiple factors contributed to the fluctuations in numbers, Merritt said.

“Before the election, cards are sent out for people to update their voter registration information,” she said previously. “Sometimes people move in the county and forget to update; sometimes people move out of the county, and the number decreases.”

Those who have yet to update their voter registration must do so by Fri., March 2, at 5 p.m.

Circuit Clerk Roger Powell said absentee voting is now under way.

Deadline for submitting an application for an absentee ballot is March 8 at 5 p.m.

“To vote by absentee ballot, one must submit an application in writing no less than five days prior to the election,” Powell said. “Also, remember the voter must be the one to hand deliver the completed application or ballot back to the clerk’s office. No one else can do it.”

Powell said those experiencing medical and business emergencies can vote via absentee ballot on March 9 and 12; however, March 12 is the last day for hand-delivered ballots to be returned to the clerk’s office. All mailed ballots must be postmarked by March 12, he said.

For a complete list of criteria and an application, visit the Covington County Courthouse or the state Secretary of State’s Web page at

For more information or to request an application, call 334-428-2520.

Sample ballots are available at the courthouse, Board of Registrar’s office and at any public library.





Or at least that was the opinion of those attending the Thursday meeting of Low Vision Outreach Support Group, who practiced voting with the handicapped accessible voting machines.

The machines work by “reading” the ballot to the voter, which is transmitted via headphones. Voters then use large, easy arrow buttons, and by following the audible directions, cast one’s vote.

The Probate Office hopes to allow another demonstration at an area adult activity center to give disabled voters a chance to acclimate themselves before the election.