Tenn. sets early voting record

By: Sara Shookman Email
By: Sara Shookman Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Election Day is still three days away, but more of you than ever in Tennessee's history have cast your early August vote.

"We had never seen this many people turn out and vote for an August election," said Scott Frith, deputy director of elections for Knox County.

More than 540 thousand Tennesseans have already been to the polls. About 36,000 of those are from Knox County.

"There's a tremendous amount of interest in this election," said Frith. "Folks see the commercials on TV, they are getting pieces of mail. The governor's race is certainly driven interest in this election."

"I really like the early voting," said Herman Pauley. "It's the convenience. You don't have one particular day you have to go. You can pick a time, and get it out of the way."

With 14 days to choose from, some say it's easier to make it out. "It's worth it in convenience to the voter. We get more folks involved. More folks vote, we think, because of early voting. It saves us machine costs. You can imagine the lines that there would be on Election Day, in your Election Day polling place, if we didn't have these early voting locations," said Frith.

"The lines for one thing, and too, I made up my mind, so I decided to go on and do it," said Pauley.

This year, Knox County also moved hours from noon to 8 p.m. to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. "We weren't open any longer, we think we got a little bit more voter," said Frith.

Other voters say it's not convenience, but conviction that draws them out this time. "I think people are just really wanting to make sure that they've got the right people representing them now. It seems like they are just, people who represented us, aren't really doing what we wanted them to do," said Kristina Bruce.

Other East Tennessee counties saw varied response to early voting. Blount County, for example, saw about 6,500 voters, less than they anticipated.

To see early vote totals for your area, click on the link below.

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