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Northeast Tennessee strong for Romney

Jennifer Sprouse • Nov 7, 2012 at 8:36 AM

Voters in Northeast Tennessee largely supported Republican Mitt Romney for president.

Around 68 percent of the vote in Washington County went to Romney in Tuesday’s presidential election. Only one precinct had not been reported by press time Tuesday night. Romney received 32,787 votes to Obama’s 14,318 votes.

In Carter County, Romney received 15,496 votes. President Barack Obama received 4,786 votes in that county.

Romney easily won the vote in Johnson County, receiving 4,611 votes to Obama’s 1,483 votes.

In Unicoi County the final vote for president was as follows: Romney 5,028; Obama: 1,909.

Romney received 29,415 votes to 9,325 votes for Obama in Sullivan County, with only one precinct’s votes not reported as of press time.

Voters turned out steadily all day across the region, though the process went smoothly for most people.

Local precinct officials around Johnson City said they had pretty high numbers Tuesday, with the South Side Elementary School precinct already having more than 350 people showing up to vote as of around 3 p.m.

Vivian Eckerson, officer of elections at South Side, said her crew set up at 6 a.m. and that voters coming to the polls had been in good spirits.

“They are so proud. They are so happy to have the ‘I voted’ sticker that if we are working with somebody else and don’t get to give it to them right away they’ll say, ‘May I have my ‘I voted’ sticker?’” Eckerson said. “I think that everybody has a vested interest in this election. They know ... that so much of the way our country goes depends on who wins this election, it being a presidential election, but they’re also very interested in the local elections.”

Theology and Bible professor at Emmanuel Christian Seminary Jason Bembry was one of many voters coming into the polls at South Side Tuesday.

“I participate in voting, but I hold to it loosely. I consider it something I do as a U.S. citizen, but I consider my spiritual citizenship, I suppose, to be primary,” Bembry said. “I think that it’s more important to be involved in local outreaches to make a difference concerning poverty and whatever the needs are here in our community –– raising kids right, giving parents the resources they need. Those are the things I’m passionate about.”

While the steady stream of voters filtered into North Side Elementary School Tuesday afternoon, Mary Alexander, officer of elections at the precinct, said things had finally slowed down a bit from earlier in the day.

“It has been a very hectic day, not because we had a lot of things go wrong, but the sheer number of people and that’s a good thing,” Alexander said. “They were outside lined up when we opened. For this election, we moved into this cafeteria because it was larger. We knew we would need the space and we really have needed it.”

There was a diverse crowd of people showing up to vote Tuesday, including the younger voters waiting in lines to cast their ballots, she said.

“People have been by far, in large, patient. Their primary concern was that they got to vote,” Alexander said. “It’s a wonderful thing to see people vote.”

Abraham and Tangie Bodkins, toting their two small children, Xander and Willow, said they felt it was important to come to the polls as a family.

Abraham said while there were options to early vote, he wanted to vote with the rest of the country and bringing his kids with him was more of a learning opportunity for them.

“Just like with some of the habits we have with even ... recycling and being nice to folks, you know, there’s a few basics that are lost in this country and ... it’s a shame that even in politics we’ve got to somehow get a hold of that,” he said. “We have to take it at the family level and then build, you know, lead by example or follow by example. We’re just thankful to have the opportunity to vote. We’re very lucky in this country to have that freedom.”

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