Take advantage of early voting — ends Friday

Published 10:29 am Wednesday, July 25, 2018

There is still time to vote early in Tennessee for the August 2 election. Early voting will continue through Friday at the Carter County Election Commission Office on Holston Ave.
August 2 is Election Day in Carter County and across the state of Tennessee for federal and state primary election and the county general election.
There are plenty of advantages to voting early. You have shorter lines compared to the traditional voting day. You knock one more item off your to-do list. Sometimes life gets too busy and going to the polls on Election Day becomes a task you might skip. If you vote in advance, it won’t slip your mind on Election Day.
Whether you choose to vote early or wait until Election Day, either way, be a participant instead of a spectator.
You can vote for either Democrats or Republicans this summer no matter your party affiliation. Many voters are crossing party lines for that reason to weigh in on a hot race on one side of the ballot if their party’s candidates are mostly unopposed on the other side.
In the November general election, when Democrats and Republicans face each other for the final choice, those voters can revert to their preferred party.
Yet every election, tens of millions of Americans stay home. Studies of turnout among developed nations consistently rank the United States near the bottom. In the most recent midterms, in 2014, less than 37 percent of eligible voters went to the polls — the lowest turnout in more than 70 years. In 2016, 102 million people didn’t vote, far more than voted for any single candidate.
The problem isn’t just apathy, of course. Keeping people from voting has been an American tradition from the nation’s earliest days, when the franchise was restricted to white male landowners. It took a civil war, constitutional amendments, violently suppressed activism against discrimination and a federal act enforcing the guarantees of those amendments to extend this basic right to every adult. With each expansion of voting rights, the nation inched closer to being a truly representative democracy. Today, only one group of Americans may be legally barred from voting — those with felony records, a cruel and pointless restriction that disproportionately silences people of color.
There is no better way than election campaigns, for voters to learn about candidates’ commitment to public schools, a growing economy, assuring health care for all those in need, demanding accountability in spending public funds, safe and secure prisons, a clean environment and good quality of life — and what policies and practices they’ll pursue to achieve them.
Carter County and Elizabethton have been heavily courted by the candidates — from the local to the state and national levels. Gubernatorial candidates have visited, and a challenge to the candidacy of Rep. Phil Roe has voters excited, as well as contested local offices.
Early voting continues through this week, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Voters should take with them a driver’s license or some other generally recognized picture ID.
Early voting is a good way to conveniently cast your ballot and to make sure your voice is heard.

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