Chattanooga: Election official looks to early voters for turnout forecast

Chattanooga: Election official looks to early voters for turnout forecast

March 6th, 2012 by Steve Hardy in Local - Breaking News

Charlotte Mullis-Morgan is elections administrator for Hamilton County

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

The administrator of the Hamilton County Election Commission said she expects a tight race for the GOP presidential nomination today.

"Who knows what's going to happen?" Charlotte Mullis-Morgan said this morning as Election Commission staff field phone calls.

She said early voting turnout generally provides a guideline on how turnout will be today.

Early voting crowds are "good, but not the best" indicator of turnout, she noted.

In this year's early voting period, 9,432 locals cast their ballots. About 72 percent pulled Republican ballots, and 28 percent pulled Democratic ballots.

In the 2008 presidential primary, 74,417 ballots were cast, representing 40 percent of registered voters. The 2008 primary, however, featured contests for both parties.

Mullis-Morgan expects the November election to be much busier.

The last presidential election drew an "impressive" 72 percent of Hamilton County voters, she said.

This year, she believes, could well reach that mark.

"I think we'll get slammed this November," Mullis-Morgan remarked.

Read more in tomorrow's Times Free Press.