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Political notebook: Voters can get ballots early for Feb. primary

Primary season begins in a few short days, and Georgians are getting ready.

Hillary Clinton's campaign will hold an open house today at its new Atlanta office on Spring Street.

While Georgia's primary results won't come out until Feb. 5, you don't have to wait for the new year to cast your vote.

Absentee voting for the presidential preference primary began earlier this month, and voters can request a ballot through Feb. 1, Secretary of State Karen Handel said.

"By state law, voters are not required to provide a reason when requesting an absentee ballot, which allows the voter to participate in an election without visiting a polling location. Instead, the ballot is mailed directly to the voter," Handel's staff wrote in a press release explaining the process.

The ballot has to be returned to the local voter registrar's office by 7 p.m. Election Day.

For the first time during a presidential election year, voters can also visit designated polls the week prior to an election to cast their ballots for any reason.

Voters can request an absentee ballot through two methods:

n Download and complete the absentee ballot application form from the Secretary of State's Web site: sos.georgia.gov/elections/

n Contact your county elections office directly. Contact information for your county elections office can be found on the Secretary of State's Web site: sos.georgia.gov/elections/

Citizens who are eligible to vote must register through Jan. 7, 2008, to cast ballots Feb. 5. Those forms can also be found at Handel's Web site.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.