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Early voting in August Primary surpasses 2016 totals

BY BRITTNEE NAVE
STAR CORRESPONDENT
In spite of a global pandemic, early voting in Carter County for the August Primary still surpassed it’s 2016 predecessor. 
 
Tracy Tanner-Harris, Administrator of Elections for the Election Office, detailed this milestone. 
 
“The pandemic didn’t hurt us at all, actually we did more,” she said. “Through early voting, there were 4,344 votes cast, whereas in 2016, the same election, there were 1,636 early votes.
 
“The total number in 2016, the same election, was just 3,791 votes. We’ve already surpassed that just through early voting.”
 
Harris said that there have been a total of 715 mail-in votes. Despite the pandemic, both mail-in and in-person votes have increased.
 
“We had more votes than we did in 2016. If you can go shop, you can go vote,” she said. 
 
As for the reason behind increases in votes, she explained it varies based on the election. This August Primary has a variety to be voted on, ranging from the Senate to the county.
 
The total number of registered voters for the August Primary is 34,937. 
 
For Harris, she says early voting can be very beneficial.
 
“We have more machines, and the longest anyone usually waits is about 15 minutes unless it’s a big election like in November when wait times might be a little longer,” she said. 
 
The comparison in numbers of early voters to Election Day voters generally varies, however some are now seeing the benefits of the latter.
 
According to Harris, in the 2016 Presidential Election, the number of early voters and Election Day voters were about tied with close to 11,000 voters each.
 
“It’s kind of even now. More people are choosing to early vote than go to the polls because of the long lines,” she said. 
 
Similar to the August Primary, Harris expects large numbers for the November Primary as well, which includes the 2020 Presidential Election. The deadline for registration for the primary in November is Oct. 5.
 
Those wishing to vote by mail can register to do so online but must bring in identification to the election office to verify identities. 
 
On why voting is so important, Harris said it is a way to get your voice heard. 
 
“Get out and vote because your vote does count,” she said.