Going strong… Early voting continues to see heavy numbers locally and statewide
BY IVAN SANDERS
Kim Birchfield is running for re-election to the Elizabethton City Council and has been setting up daily across from the Carter County Election Commission speaking to voters as they go to the polls and introducing himself to those who might not know him.
One thing that has been constant has been the daily turnout of voters since early voting began and for Birchfield that is exciting to see the great early turnout before the November 3rd election.
“The shortest line has been around 30 minutes but for the most part lines have been around 45 minutes to an hour or a little longer,” Birchfield said.
“On Saturday, the line extended all the way down to that light pole,” the candidate said pointing at a pole that was down the sidewalk which was about an hour and 15-minute wait.
Such scenes are playing out throughout the state as through Monday there had been 909,388 votes cast during early voting with opening day totals of 264,161 being the single largest day so far throughout the 95 counties in the state.
Of that total, 146,322 votes came through absentee balloting while 763,066 visited the polls to cast their ballot.
Here in Carter County, there have been 4,472 votes cast as of Monday with 3,421 of those being made at the Carter County Election Commission and 1,051 absentee ballots.
There were 1,473 voters that made their decision on October 14th, the opening day of early voting with the lowest day being on Saturday, October 17th when there were 437 voters who made their choice.
All other days have seen over 800 people coming out daily.
Neighboring counties have also seen a large turnout as Sullivan County has seen 19,839 votes through Monday, Washington County has reported 14,698, Unicoi County 3.027, and Johnson County 2,290.
The last day for early voting is Thursday, October 29th.
For those elderly voters and those who may be physically limited, it might be a good idea to bring a folding chair, water, and a head covering while waiting in the long lines.
Voting lines are expected to be very heavy on November 3rd so even though the lines maybe 30 minutes or longer now, it is very possible they could be even longer wait times on Election Day as a record number of voters once again are expected.