Cooper: Early voting up; keep it up

Cooper: Early voting up; keep it up

October 23rd, 2018 by Clint Cooper in Opinion Free Press

Volunteers campaign for their favorite candidate on the first day of early voting outside of the Brainerd Youth and Family Development Center last week.

Photo by C.B. Schmelter

The good news is that for the first three days of early voting for November's mid-term election, nearly 300 percent more Hamilton County residents voted than they did for the first three days of voting in 2014.

The bad news is that three-day total of 16,292 voters puts the county — the state's fourth largest — only sixth among the state's 95 counties.

We trailed the three larger counties, Davidson (Nashville), Shelby (Memphis) and Knox (Knoxville), but we also were behind Williamson, a bedroom county for Nashville, and Rutherford (Murfreesboro).

So we renew our question, even with the larger turnout, why don't many Hamilton County residents vote?

We certainly didn't measure up as a county for the totality of early voting in the primary election in August. While the state turnout for the primary increased by 11.01 percent over 2014, Hamilton County early voting was down by 0.21 percent. While the county population increased by some 11,011 people since 2014, according to United States Census estimates, 46 fewer people in Hamilton County voted early. Its estimated early-voting turnout of 8.41 percent was last among the state's counties.

However, Hamilton County, according to state totals after three days of voting, had the 15th biggest increase in the state, going from 4,101 votes in 2014 to 16,292 this year. In doing so, it averaged some 5,430 votes a day. If it continues to average that amount for the entire 14-day early-voting period, it will shatter the early-voting totals from every mid-term election this century.

Carrying out that average would result in some 76,020 county residents voting early. That would be nearly double the 40,181 who voted early in 2006, when the state last had an open United States Senate race (as it does this year), would be nearly three times the 27,053 who voted early in 2014 (when there was neither an open Senate nor governor's race) or the 26,801 who voted early in 2010 (when there was an open governor's race), and would be more than three times the 23,120 who voted early in 2002 (when there was an open U.S. Senate race).

Even if the Hamilton County four-day early-voting total of 20,036 (the state website did not include Saturday's slightly lower count) is extended, it still would far surpass any mid-term total this century. Indeed, the four-day numbers are slightly ahead of the county's early-voting pace in the 2016 election.

But all that shouldn't make us pat ourselves on the back. We should want to vote in every election but especially those in which a governor of the state and a United States senator are chosen.

Not only are those two offices on the line, but the potential party control of the Senate is up for grabs. While the Real Clear Politics Senate Map has moved the Tennessee race between Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen into its "Leans GOP" category, things could change. And with two Senate seats held during this Congress by Republicans still in the "Toss Up" category, anything could happen.

Vote as if your state and country depended on it. They just might.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Chattanooga Times Free Press Comments Policy

The Chattanooga Times Free Press web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Times Free Press web sites and any content on the Times Free Press web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Times Free Press, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Times Free Press websites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
400 East 11th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403
Phone: 423-757-6315
Email: webeditor@timesfreepress.com


Loading...