Nearly 4,000 in county vote early; Election Day is just two days away
Published 9:03 am Monday, November 3, 2014
On Tuesday voters will head to the polls to select local, state and federal officials as well as weigh in on proposed amendments to the state constitution.
Early voting closed Thursday after 3,965 voters cast their ballots early and 231 used absentee ballots.
Administrator of Elections Tracy Harris said that number is down from the 2010 early voter turnout — also a midterm election — when 5,948 people voted early.
The last day of early voting was the busiest as 539 people showed up to cast ballots. When the polls closed at 4 p.m. there was still a short line and Harris said all who were in line by 4 p.m.were allowed to vote.
Across the state, 87 of Tennessee’s 95 counties reported decreases in early voter turnout, according to a report released Friday by the state Election Commission. A total of 629,485 voters took part in early voting this year compared to 2010’s numbers -736,885.
After the polls closed on Thursday, the voting machines were taken down to be prepared for machine inspection on Friday. The inspections take place under a provision of state law so interested parties may inspect the machines to verify they are set up properly, are in accurate working order and are machines are set at zero.
Once inspected, the machines are then sealed by the Election Commission. Those seals will remain intact until the machines are opened at the poll location on Election Day. Harris said prior to opening on Tuesday morning, each polling site will run “zero tapes” to show that no votes were cast on the machines prior to the opening of the polls.
The polls will open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday and will remain open until 8 p.m. Individuals who are in line by the time the polls close at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote, Harris said. Unofficial election results will be announced Tuesday night.
Included on the ballot for Tuesday are races for Elizabethton City Council, the Elizabethton Board of Education and state and federal offices. Some Carter County residents will also cast votes in the Watauga City Commissioner race while those who live within the city limits of Johnson City will see two proposed home rule charter amendments on the ballot.
Those residing in Carter County within the city limits of either Elizabethton or Johnson City will also see a referendum on the ballot on the sale of wine in retail food stores.
The ballot will also offers voters a choice on four proposed state constitutional amendments dealing with abortion laws, judicial appointments, state income tax and lottery regulations.
Harris said voters must present a state of Tennessee- or federal government-issued photo identification in order to be able to vote. She said this is true whether a person decides to participate in early voting at the courthouse or they choose to vote on Election Day at their assigned precinct polling place on Nov. 4.
Voters must present a state of Tennessee- or federal government-issued photo identification in order to be able to vote, Harris said.