By Michael Davis
It’s election day in Hamilton County.
Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today as voters cast ballots in several local races, including primaries for sheriff and County Commission.
County Election Administrator Bud Knowles said he hopes last week’s late surge in early voting turnout will carry over to today. Records show 5,425 people in the county cast ballots during the 12-day early voting period that ended Thursday.
Only 10.66 percent of voters turned out overall in the May 2002 elections.
Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Stuart James said the top race he’s watching is the Democratic primary for the Hamilton County Commission seat in District 6. Commissioner Lou Miller is being challenged by John Allen Brooks, and the winner will be unopposed in the Aug. 3 county general election.
Mr. James said campaigners will be doing some voter-turnout efforts in that district and other targeted areas throughout the county, but most of their efforts are behind them.
If we haven’t done our work by tomorrow it’s not going to work, he said Monday.
Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Bobby Wood said the most heated GOP race is the sheriff’s primary between Sheriff John Cupp and challenger Andy Derryberry.
Although many local races have had a low profile, voters still need to show up to the polls, Mr. Wood said.
They’re very important races, he said.
Among other contested races is the special election for Chattanooga City Council District 9, where Quenston A. Coleman, Eric A. Colen Sr., Debbie Gaines and Edward L. Williams Sr. are running for the seat once held by Yusuf Hakeem.
Mr. Hakeem left the council after accepting an appointment to the state’s Board of Probation and Parole.
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Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today in Hamilton County. For polling locations and more information, visit the Hamilton County Election Commission’s Internet site at http://elect.hamiltontn.gov.