Whew! Long ballot, long lines make for long day

Published 9:31 am Friday, August 8, 2014

Photo by Brandon Hicks Election workers count write-in votes Thursday night after the polls closed in Carter County.

Photo by Brandon Hicks
Election workers count write-in votes Thursday night after the polls closed in Carter County.

Long lines and a long ballot delayed the release of election results for Carter County on Thursday night.
One hour after polls closed, no results had been released for any of the precincts in the county. Reports were coming in from various voting sites in the county that as much as a two-hour wait was facing some voters after the polls closed at 8 p.m.
Administrator of Elections Tracy Harris said the August general primary proved to provide an eventful election day.
“We had two-hour waits at some of the sites,” Harris said. “The phone has rang constantly all day. It has been a very busy.”
This year’s general election saw a higher voter turnout than the similar election in 2010. This year’s voter total was 13,292, compared to the 2010 voter total of 11,593.
Early voting results came in at around 9:11 p.m., with other precincts coming in at regular intervals until around 11 p.m. when it turned into a waiting game as workers waited for the Roan Mountain and Central precincts ballots to arrive.
“There were people in line to vote when the polls closed,” Harris said. “All the people in line when the polls close are allowed to vote.”
She explained it was these long lines that delayed the release of the vote tallies earlier in the evening.
The longer lines were not just present at the polls toward the end of the work day. Harris said most locations experienced an extended wait time throughout the day.
Harris said that considering the length of the ballot, Thursday had been a successful Election Day.
“To be such a long ballot, everything went well,” she said.
But that’s not to say that there were no issues at the poll sites.
One voter passed out while waiting to vote at Valley Forge Elementary. A poll worker became light-headed while working in the Happy Valley precinct.
But Harris said there were no problems with any of the voting machines.
Also, students in the Elizabethton City School system attended school for a half-day Thursday, which Harris said did not result in any issues that were reported to her.
“I didn’t hear anything from any of the workers at the schools that there were problems,” she said.

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