• 63°

GOP Primary sees strong turnout

The 2014 Carter County Republican Primary is in the books.
During the election, 42 percent of the eligible Carter County voters cast a vote for their favorite candidates in many races. Of those voting, almost half participated in early voting with 20.6 percent of voters visiting the ballot boxes during that time.
“We had a lower turnout than we did in the 2010 election,” said election commissioner Tracy Harris. “But, 42 percent of voters is a good turnout for a primary election.”
Harris said the election ran smoothly on Tuesday with no known issues that she had been alerted to.
“Everything went well,” she said. “Nothing major happened. People just came through kind of steady all day long.”
The election commission did have a small issue with one of the early voting machines when it crashed a few days ago. Harris said the machine was taken care of by the voting machine company.
“All of the machines are good,” she said. “Microvote came out and was able to extract the data from the machine and transferred it to another. We were able to read it out and there were no problems there.
During the day on Tuesday, election workers at precincts throughout the county reported slow voter traffic, but an easy issue-free day.
At East Side Elementary, election worker Betty Pellettier also reported a slower-than-average election day. “The only difference for city poll workers was the city schools were still in session,” Pellettier said at around 4:20 p.m. Tuesday. “We had a couple of busy spurts. It might pick up when people get off from work.”
As of 4:20 p.m., East Side had registered 128 voters.
Pelletier said the day had relatively few problems to impact voting.
“We haven’t had any issues,” she said. “The only thing was there weren’t many parking spaces available during the day because they were in school. It has been a good day overall.”
Superintendent of Elizabethton City Schools Ed Alexander said he had not heard from any of the principals reporting issues from the election day traffic. Voting is held at four of the five city schools with Elizabethton High School being the only school without a polling place.
Alexander said the polling places are held in areas of the schools that are separated from the children as much as possible to allow for better control. At two schools – T.A. Dugger Junior High School and Harold McCormick Elementary – the polling places are in buildings away from the main school building. At the other two schools – East Side and West Side Elementary schools – the voting is held in the gymnasiums.
“The election committee works with us, and we have a committee that looks at the school calendar,” Alexander said. “Their people work very closely with the school staff. The principals are watching our kids and they keep an eye on the voters. Everything was pretty well under control.”
At Keenburg Elementary, poll workers said the day had been relatively quiet.
“It has been good,” said Keenburg poll worker Charlotte Markland. “There were no problems and we didn’t have any complaints.”
Keenburg precinct reported 137 voters as of 4 p.m. Tuesday. Poll worker Juanita Gibson contributed the lower turnout to early voting.
“I think we had around 100 voters from Keenburg who did early voting,” Gibson said. “That makes a difference for a smaller precinct like us.”
At Valley Forge Elementary, the story was much the same. By 5:30 p.m. 240 voters had cast their ballots.
“It has been pretty good,” said poll worker Diane Edens. “It did speed up a little after work. Everything has been pretty smooth and everyone has been polite and courteous.”
The next election for Carter County will be the August General Election..