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Friday marks voting’s start

Step right up and choose.
And while you’re at it, avoid the long lines on Election Day.
With early voting for the August election beginning Friday, officials are encouraging voters to take advantage of the chance to spare themselves a wait on Aug. 7.
“We encourage anyone who can to early vote, especially elderly voters,” said Administrator of Elections Tracy Harris. “The ballot is so long there will be long lines at the polls on Election Day, and people will be hot and miserable.”
Harris said the ballot is long because it features the candidates for the county offices in the general election, and those running in the primary election for state offices as well as for congressional offices. She said the ballot also contains 23 judicial retention questions, adding to the length of the ballot.
“The last time we had a ballot this long, we had complaints of people waiting in line for two hours,” Harris said.
Early voting kicks off Friday at 9 a.m. at the Carter County Courthouse and will conclude on Saturday, Aug. 2. The hours for early voting are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturdays. The polling place for early voting is on the second floor of the courthouse in Conference Room 205.
Harris said voters must select which political party – either Republican or Democrat – in which they wish to nominate candidates for the state and national primary elections on this ballot. She also reminds voters to “be sure and bring their state of Tennessee or federal photo identification with them.”
Also beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday with the opening of the polls for early voting, the 100-foot campaign boundary will go into effect.
Harris is reminding voters that neither campaign workers or materials such as cards, fliers and badges are allowed within 100 feet of the polling place where voting is occurring. She said if voters have any campaign materials with them, they must either be left outside the boundary or put away inside a pocket or purse before entering the polls.
The issue of campaign materials in the polling place came up during the June meeting of the Election Commission, when commissioners discussed campaign material that had been brought to their attention and raised some legal questions.
The item in question is a printed card that has campaign material for a certified write-in candidate for the August election on one side, and a set of instructions for completing a write-in vote on the other side.
Harris reported to the Commission at the June meeting that she had contacted the state Election Commission regarding the items. She said she was told it is legal for a voter to bring in instructions for completing a write-in vote. However, because these particular cards have campaign material on the other side, the card would be considered campaign material and would therefore be illegal to carry into a polling place.