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Nearly 6,000 cast ballots in early voting

Nearly 6,000 Carter Countians took the opportunity to cast their ballots early for candidates in the August election.
When the polls closed for early voting at noon Saturday, a total of 5,981 had been cast, according to Administrator of Elections Tracy Harris. Of that number, 5,575 voted in person at the courthouse, 329 were absentee mail-in ballots and 77 were nursing home absentee ballots.
Harris said early voting for this election exceeded the total of early votes cast for a similar election in 2010 that saw the county and state offices on the ballot. In that election, 4,753 residents took advantage of early voting.
Early voting numbers were also up from the county’s May primary election, which saw 4,274 ballots cast during early voting.
Election Commission member Paul Souder said when the polls closed on Saturday a large number of people were in line to vote — so many that the line extended down the hall from the conference room through the second floor of the courthouse and past the courtroom toward the front entrance. Souder said all those already in line at noon were allowed to vote.
Saturday saw 296 voters casting ballots, Harris said. The highest single day total was on Friday, Aug. 1, when 542 voters went to the early voting polls.
Overall, Tennessee experienced a surge in early voting this year. According to the Tennessee Election Commission, 562,853 residents across the state participated in early voting from July 18 through Aug. 2. That number surpassed any statewide total for an August election on record, according to the state data.
Ballots cast during early voting will remain under seal until the polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Day, Aug. 7.