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Early voting turnout 'good,' administrator says

Gary B. Gray • Jul 23, 2014 at 9:12 PM

Washington, Carter and Unicoi counties will complete the sixth full day of early voting today for the Aug. 7 state primary and county general elections, leaving eight days to vote before the election-day rush.

“Things are going well so far, and the turnout has been good,” Maybell Stewart, Washington County administrator of elections, said Wednesday. “As of early this afternoon, we have voted 2,393, including nursing home and absentee.”

Considering the number of days of early voting so far, roughly 479 people have cast their ballots at Washington County polling places each day.

The May 6 Washington County primary drew 13,099 total votes, and the total number of early votes so far for the Aug. 7 elections is about 18 percent of that tally.

Stewart said voting at the Washington County Courthouse in Jonesborough, which is one of three sites where Washington Countians can cast early votes through Aug. 2, seems to be getting a slightly higher turnout than the county’s Health Department off Princeton Road in Johnson City and the fire station at Gray Commons Circle in Gray.

“As for times they come during the day, we have no way of knowing that because these are satellite locations,” Stewart said.

Two Tennessee House of Representatives races are of particular interest this year. Incumbent Micah Van Huss in the 6th House District is being challenged in the all-Republican primary by Johnson City Vice Mayor Clayton Stout. These are the only contestants for this seat, making it a winner-take-all affair.

The same principle applies in the 7th House District race, though three Republicans are in the running: incumbent Matthew Hill, former Johnson City Commissioner Phil Carriger and Todd Mitchell Franklin.

The Election Commission does not calculate individual candidate votes until election night. However, 1,178 people had cast votes for the 7the race and 1,215 had chosen their favorite for the 6th District contest as of Wednesday afternoon.

Stewart asked that people remember to bring a valid photo identification with them when they come to the polls — IDs that must be issued by either federal or state entities.

Local contests include a race for all 25 Washington County Commission seats — a commission which already has changed drastically. Nine of the 25 commissioners already are out of the picture.

Also, incumbent Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge defeated challenger Mike Rutherford in the May 6 primary and is uncontested for the spot in the Aug. 7 election.

July 31 is the last day to request an absentee ballot and the last day the Election Commission can process that request.

According to the Tennessee secretary of state’s office, 1,818 votes had been cast in Carter County’s early voting period, an increase of 524 over the same time period in 2010 voting.

In Unicoi County, 563 early votes had been cast, an increase of 277 from 2010.

Citizens can vote early at the following locations:

• Washington County Election Commission office, 100 E. Main St., Jonesborough; Health Department, 219 Princeton Road; Fire Station at 106 Gray Commons Circle, Gray.

• Carter County Election Commission Office, Carter County Courthouse, 801 E. Elk Ave., Room 207, Elizabethton.

• Unicoi County Election Commission office, 106 Nolichucky Ave., Erwin.

All sites are open from 9 a.m.-5p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m.-noon on Saturdays.

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