NASHVILLE — Tennesseans continued to set new records for in-person early voting and absentee-by-mail ballots in next week's presidential election, with just over 2.1 million voting through Wednesday, Secretary of State Tre Hargett announced Thursday.
The 2,109,156 Tennessee voters who had cast in-person or mail-in ballots during the first 13 days of the 14-day early voting period represent a 38% jump over the nearly 1.7 million who voted early during the entire 2016 early voting period, according to Hargett.
Thursday is the last day for in-person early voting in Tuesday's Nov. 3 general election and voters continued to surge to polling stations throughout the day.
Hamilton County Election Commission figures show nearly 100,000 residents — 95,947 — had cast in-person or absentee mail-in ballots through Wednesday. Of that figure, 79,559 voted in person while the remainder voted by mail.
Hargett, a Republican, said "these record numbers demonstrate Tennessee voters' confidence in the safe, sensible and responsible administration of this election. County elections officials are doing a great job helping voters have a smooth voting experience."
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said that as of midday Thursday, 3.84 million Georgians had voted early or by mail, a 78.8% increase over the 1.9 million cast four years earlier.
Tennessee's deadline to request an absentee ballot was Tuesday. The completed mail-in ballots must be received by the state's 95 county election commissions by the close of polls on Election Day this coming Tuesday, Nov. 3.
With time growing short, the U.S. Postal Service and election officials, including Hamilton County Election Administrator Scott Allen, set up drop-off locations at a designated post office in each of the state's 95 counties.
Voters can also take the completed ballots to the designated post office in the county they reside in to be mailed with a first-class stamp before 3 p.m. local time on Election Day. A representative from the county election commission will pick up ballots directly from the designated post office to ensure they are received by the close of polls on Election Day.
Hamilton County voters can take their completed absentee by-mail ballot to the post office at 6050 Shallowford Road, Allen said.
USPS Tennessee District Manager Christopher L. Alexander said in a statement that "the Postal Service is implementing extraordinary measures and resources to deliver for Tuesday's General Election. We are working closely with local elections officials to offer ballot delivery on Election Day at 95 post offices across the state."
Allen said voters in Hamilton County and elsewhere in Tennessee can easily and securely track their mail ballot's status with the Secretary of State's tracking tool at tnmap.tn.gov/voterlookup.
Contact Andy Sher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.
We may not know results on election night
Election night usually ends with results. This year will probably be different due to record-breaking early voting and the deluge of voting by mail-in ballots. Read more on how the Times Free Press plans to handle this and where we get information on election results.