Early voting turnout remains consistent in Hamilton County

Early voting turnout remains consistent in Hamilton County

April 26th, 2018 by Rosana Hughes in Breaking News

A voter enters the Hamilton County Election Commission on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

This story was updated April 26, 2018, at 11:55 p.m.

Hamilton County's upcoming primary election got off to a slow start, picking up steam as the second week of early voting came to a close Thursday, but not enough to surpass turnout for the last county primary.

Kerry Steelman, administrator of elections for the Hamilton County Election Commission, said the last day is always the busiest day.

"We've had a lot more interest today than we've seen at all of our sites," he said.

Early voters in this year's primary election cast ballots in contests for three countywide races, county mayor, Circuit Court judgeship and the register of deeds office. Four county commission seats are also up for a vote.

By the end of Thursday, 8,059 voters had gone to the polls. That is 725 less than the 2014 primary election's 8,784 early voters.

Steelman said that while this year's turnout is on the low end, it's still relatively consistent with previous county primaries.

"Even if you look at the average over the last 10 years, this would be on the low end of that average," he said.

This year's lower turnout is likely due to only four Republican and three Democratic contested races, as opposed to 2014's nine Republican and four Democratic contested races.

The last four days of this year's early voting saw the highest turnout, and wrapped up with a grand total of 1,091 more voters asking for Republican ballots than Democrats.

Results will be released on Election Day this Tuesday after final votes have been tallied.

Contact staff writer Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @Hughes Rosana.