Early voting turnout in Hamilton County is down about 24% compared to August elections in 2014 and 2018, administrator of elections Scott Allen said Friday afternoon.
Allen told the Times Free Press by phone that this trend is consistent statewide. Early voting turnout is also down compared to the primary in May. August elections typically have slightly higher engagement than May primaries, he said, but Allen believes the local interest in the competitive Republican primary for Hamilton County mayor may have boosted the May numbers.
According to the Hamilton County Election Commission, 5,360 people had cast a ballot at one of the county's six early voting sites through the end of the day on Thursday. Absentee and nursing home voters have cast 1,020 ballots, bringing the total to 6,380.
Most voters, 1,629, have gone to the site at the Election Commission offices on River Terminal Road off Amnicola Highway, and the location in Hixson has drawn the second highest turnout, 1,235.
Hamilton County opened two new early voting sites this year, one in Soddy-Daisy and another in Snow Hill. Those locations have so far seen 354 and 347 voters, respectively.
Although the Soddy-Daisy and Snow Hill sites are trailing the others, Allen expects that will pick up as people become more aware of those options. The early voting site in Collegedale, he noted, was in a similar position when it initially opened.
"Those two sites are starting about where any new site does typically," he said. "It just takes time for people to learn that they're there."
Early voting started on July 15 and ends on July 30. Election day is Aug. 4.
Where and when can I vote?
Most early voting locations will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
The site at the Election Commission offices on River Terminal Road will be open longer: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
The early voting locations in Hamilton County are:
— Election Commission at 700 River Terminal Road.
— Hixson Community Center at 5401 School Drive.
— Brainerd Rec Center at 1010 N. Moore Road.
— Highway 58 Volunteer Fire Training Center at 9108 Snow Hill Road.
— Collegedale City Hall at 4910 Swinyar Drive.
— Soddy-Daisy Community Center at 190 Depot St.
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