Voter turnout was noticeably low in Knox County

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) – In February 2008, large numbers of East Tennesseans braved long lines at the polls to express their voices during the primaries. Those long lines were noticeably shorter on Thursday, which left some voters wondering what kept their neighbors away.

South Knoxville was among the communities that saw a voting drop-off.

“It was weird,” said Josh Nunnally who voted in his first election, “I expected there to be two or three people in line at each booth. “There are a lot of people in South Knoxville and you would think that local politics would be important to them."

West Knox County election officials also noticed a lack of voters and some agreed it was the one of the slowest election day’s of the last decade.

“It gets to be a long day with us when we are showing up here at seven o'clock in the morning," said Chuck Cleland who worked the polls at Pond Gap Elementary School. “It’s been quite slow and we averaged about 13 people an hour."

Pond Gap ended up with 188 voters over the 12 hour time span. With an hour left before the polls closed, the precinct at Austin-East High School had seen only about 60 voters.

“It was very quiet and there was no one there except for the employees,” said Knox County voter Lee Nunnally. “The only people in the voting area were the volunteers who were showing you how to use the machine."

The Knox County Election Commission also confirmed it was a slow day at the polls.

“From everything I've seen at the polls today, it's been slow,” said Pam Reeves, the county election chairwoman. “There were no lines when the polls closed tonight, so I think it's going to be low."

Virtually every race on the ballot was countywide. Election officials said they hope for a much larger turnout in November when voters will cast ballots for US Senate and President.


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