Early voting numbers in Washington Co. on pace with 2010

Gary B. Gray • Apr 22, 2014 at 10:28 PM

As of Monday — nearly five full days into a 14-day early voting cycle for the May 6 Republican primary — the Washington County Election Commission reported the number of votes cast so far is on pace to equal or surpass early voting numbers in the May 2010 primary.

A steady stream of voters visited the Jonesborough Courthouse Tuesday, and Administrator of Elections Maybell Stewart said people were showing up at the county’s two other early voting locations with regularity.

At 5 p.m. Monday, the total number of early votes cast was 1,532, and this does not include absentee ballots, which will be counted and added to the count at a later date. By 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, an additional 80 to 90 people had cast their votes at the Jonesborough location alone.

The total number of votes cast in the May 2010 primary was 13,030. The total voting either early or by absentee ballot that year was 5,333, or just shy of 41 percent of all votes cast.

Early voting ends May 1 at 5 p.m.

“Things are going well, and I think the turnout has been very good so far,” Stewart said. “I’m glad to report we’ve had no glitches, and everyone has been showing up with the proper identification. We still are encouraging people to vote early. Many times it is more convenient. We have three locations, and the lines should be shorter than on the day of the primary.”

There has been no lack of supporters outside poling places. Some are lined up in chairs holding signs, while others walk back and forth making sure voters get a gander of hand-held signs and buttons. Large wooden signs have been placed in the back of pick-up trucks and these are hard to miss.

This year’s Republican primary ballot is much fuller than the last. The ballot includes candidates for county mayor, district attorney, 1st Judicial District, General Sessions judges and all 25 County Commission seats. The county added the 10th Commission District after redistricting, and this will be the first year it is on the ballot, as well.

April 29 is the last day the Election Commission office can process absentee ballot requests.

When voters enter polling places they will need to fill out ballot applications. The registrar will review it and voters will be issued a “machine application,” which they will sign. They will then move to a voting machine and follow instructions. Poll workers will be on hand to assist.

Looking forward, the qualifying deadline for the Aug. 7 state primary and county general has passed. The last day to register to vote for that election is July 8. Early voting runs from July 18-Aug. 2

The general and Town of Jonesborough elections are Nov. 4. The deadline for municipal candidates to pick up nominating petitions is Aug. 21 at noon, and the withdrawal deadline is Aug. 28 at noon.

The last day to register to vote for the Nov. 4 general/municipal election is Oct. 6. The last day on which absentee ballot requests can be processed is Oct. 28. Early voting for the Nov. 4 election is Oct. 15 - Oct. 30.

Early voting locations and hours for May 6 Republican primary:

Washington County: Washington County Courthouse, 100 E. Main St., Jonesborough, ground level; Washington County-Johnson City Health Department, 219 Princeton Rd. and Gray Commons, 106 Gray Commons Circle, Gray. Open 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. M-F, 9.a.m.-noon Saturdays.

Carter County: Carter County Courthouse (second floor), 801 E. Elk Ave., Elizabethton. Open 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. M-F, 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays.

Unicoi County: Unicoi County Election Commission Office, 106 Nolichucky Ave., Erwin. Open 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. M-F, 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays.

Like Gary B. Gray on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Gary-B-Gray. Follow him on Twitter @ggrayjcpress.

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