EARLY VOTING SITES
• Hamilton County Election Commission, 700 River Terminal Road, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday.
• Eastwood Church, 4300 Ooltewah-Ringgold Road,10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
• Brainerd Recreation Center, 1010 N. Moore Road,10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
• Northgate Mall, Highway 153, Hixson, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
Source: Hamilton County Election Commission
Early voting opened Friday in Hamilton County and 1,006 voters already had cast their ballots by 5 p.m.
The first day's turnout was higher than expected, said Charlotte Mullis-Morgan, administrator of elections for the Hamilton County Election Commission.
"We've been pleased with what we have today," she said. "We didn't expect quite this many. It's a little heavier today than we expected."
Several races are on the local ballot, including Hamilton County mayor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives 3rd District, state Senate 10th District and state House Districts 26 through 30.
"The benefit of early voting is that you don't have to stand in a long line on election day, and you can pick your day," Mullis-Morgan said. "It's much faster voting because we have computers. It's just a much better deal."
Anyone who is registered to vote in Hamilton County can vote at one of four early voting locations, Mullis-Morgan said.
Frederick Pinkard, a Chattanooga resident, cast his vote at Brainerd Recreation Center.
"I wanted to get my vote in early," he said, "and I have that done without having to worry about being here at the last minute and trying to get in amongst the crowd."
Pinkard said early voting was convenient for him because he came straight from work and didn't have to wait in line.
"There was no one in front of me," he said.
And voting is something he takes very seriously.
"I think it is my duty to exercise my right to vote that we've had so much bloodshed over in times past."
Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...