By Cliff Hightower
CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley County Elections Administrator David Ellis has been placed on indefinite medical leave just one week before county primary elections, officials said.
County election commissioners placed Mr. Ellis, who has had health problems in recent years, on leave at their meeting Tuesday, and they appointed Fran Green director of elections, officials said.
The move comes as early voting was peaking in counties across Southeast Tennessee, and they prepare for Tuesday’s primary.
So far, area election officials said turnout has increased steadily over the last week. Early voting ends today at 4 p.m.
Everybody is waiting for the 99th minute, said McMinn County Election Administrator Loretta Sliger. They’re still making up their minds about who they are going to vote for.
More than 6,000 people had voted in Bradley County as of Wednesday, election officials said. Elections officials reported more than 1,300 people voted in McMinn County, 855 voted early in Bledsoe County and 857 voted early in Polk County.
Rhea County Election Administrator Cathy Lauer said more than 1,300 people had voted in Rhea County by Wednesday. More people are expected to be at the polls today, she said.
The last day is usually busy, Ms. Lauer said.
Kalin Morris, assistant administrator for Bradley County Elections, agreed, saying, The last day of early voting is typically a big, big day.
In Polk County, Elections Administrator Sula Jenkins said voting had been steady but has tapered off.
It’s usually the busiest on the first day, she said.
Mrs. Sliger said in McMinn County she has seen a lot of cross voting, with a lot of Republicans voting Democratic and a lot of Democrats voting Republican.
She said that has happened in years past, but this year it seems more noticeable.
She did not venture an explanation for the party crossover votes.
I don’t know why, she said.
Staff writer Randall Higgins contributed to this report.
E-mail Cliff Hightower at firstname.lastname@example.org