Early voting numbers surpass 2010 total

Gary B. Gray • May 2, 2014 at 9:54 PM

Early voting for the May 6 Washington County Republican primary ended Thursday with 5,988 votes cast, a number that far surpasses the 2010 primary and an indicator the overall total for this year’s election will likely exceed the last primary.

The early voting total does not include absentee ballots, which continue to arrive at the Washington County Election Commission office and will be added to the count when the primary concludes.

In 2010, 4,895 early votes were cast, meaning 1,073 more voters chose to hit one of the county’s three early voting sites this year. This is not an apples-to-apples comparison, however.

“The races in the 1st Judicial District for judges, district attorney and public defender occur only once every eight years,” said Maybell Stewart, Washington County administrator of elections. “We also have races for all 10 County Commission districts this year, and I think that really made a difference.”

Stewart said the April 16-May 1 early voting period came and went without any snags, but she did encourage voters to remember they need to bring a valid photo identification with them when they come to the polls.

“We’re getting a bigger and bigger turnout during early voting, and I think we will have more total voters than in 2010,” she said.

The current number of active registered voters in Washington County is 60,801, down from 62,279 registered voters in 2010. That’s a drop of 1,478 voters, or about 2.4 percent.

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.

This year’s Republican primary ballot includes candidates for district attorney general in the 1st Judicial District, three Sessions Court 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.

Polls at 40 precincts within the county are open Tuesday from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

A state or federal photo ID is required at the polls. However, anyone over 60 can vote using an absentee ballot if they have registered in person or have voted in a prior election.

Looking forward, the state primary and county general election is set for Aug. 7. The last day to register to vote for that election is July 8, and 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. 15-30.

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

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