Take advantage of early voting to shorten waiting time at the polls

Published 12:16 pm Friday, July 15, 2022

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The Tennessee Primary and Carter County General Election is more than two weeks away, but early voting began Friday. It’s time to let your voice be heard at the ballot box.
Tennessee’s early voting period for the Aug. 4 primaries and general election is scheduled for July 15-30, daily except Sundays.
There are several contested races on the ballot, including sheriff, county mayor, and several commissioner races. When all is said and done August 3, the selection process for these offices as well as other county offices will be completed.
On the August ballot, Tennessee voters will see primary races for governor, U.S. House, state Senate, state House and the state Executive Committee members for each political party, as well as retention or general elections for judicial offices and other state and local positions.
Early voting allows Tennesseans to avoid Election Day crowds and shorten their wait time. Early voting also offers the flexibility of evening and Saturday hours.
Carter Countians voting early or on Election Day need to bring valid photo identification to the polls. A driver’s license or photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Tennessee state government or the federal government is acceptable even if it’s expired. Student IDs are not acceptable. Out of state driver’s licenses are not acceptable.
With COVID numbers climbing locally, having a chance to go to the polls for 10 days before election day affords voters the chance of catching a less crowded polling site, thus limiting their chances of contacting COVID-19.
There is evidence that early voting works and is accomplishing what we want: more people voting.
Our democracy only works if people participate in it. When candidates are elected with only 20 percent voter turnout, we all lose.
In order to have the people speak, we must truly hear from as many as possible.
If people in the outlying areas of the county don’t want to drive to the early voting site, they can wait until Election Day and vote at their local polling site. The opportunity to cast absentee ballots by mail was also offered to voters.
Polls are open from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during the early voting period and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until noon.
Some folks don’t like early voting. They say it takes away from the luster of Election Day when we all celebrate our democracy and enjoy the community spirit of meeting at the polls.
But it seems that Election Day still has that special feel despite early voting being in place. The majority of voters still turn out on Election Day and polling places are filled with volunteers and plenty of lively conversation.
Also, Election Day is the day we learn the results, at least mostly, and that brings out a special vibe of anticipation.
Whether you vote during early voting, on Election Day or by absentee ballot, the important thing is to get out there and vote. The 2020 presidential election saw more than 150 million Americans cast ballots, a record by a wide margin.
Some did not like the result, but at least we all had a say in who won.
There’s nothing worse than the person who complains about politics, but refuses to vote and participate.
Don’t be that person.

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