published Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

Hamilton County early voting numbers top 2008

A line formed for voters at the Hamilton County Election Commission around lunchtime on Wednesday.
A line formed for voters at the Hamilton County Election Commission around lunchtime on Wednesday.
Photo by Kate Harrison Belz.

ON ELECTION DAY

Visit timesfreepress.com on Tuesday night for an interactive map of the U.S. showing up-to-date vote totals state-by-state in the presidential election. The map also will give county-by-county vote totals for Tennessee and Georgia.

POLLS OPEN

• Registered voters may cast ballots on Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Hamilton County.

BY THE NUMBERS

Early voting totals

* 69,047: Hamilton County

* 24,259: Bradley County

* 1,456,824: Tennessee

Source: Tennessee, Hamilton and Bradley county election commissions

Despite new precinct outlines and a mandate for photo ID at the polls, elections officials said early voting went smoothly in Hamilton County and the state.

Early ballots cast in Hamilton County topped the number in the 2008 presidential election -- 69,047 compared to 68,000, said Charlotte Mullis-Morgan, county elections administrator.

Despite that, only two provisional ballots were cast and there were no hassles over the new photo ID law, Morgan said.

"We haven't had any, but I'm afraid to brag -- with the Tuesday presidential election, who knows what's going to happen?" she said.

Based on the early voting turnout, she's predicting a busy Election Day.

"If it holds true to presidential elections, I think this one's going to be very, very, very heavy. This one's going to top 2008," she said.

Tennessee overall had its highest single-day early voting turnout ever, with more than 134,000 people casting ballots Thursday, according to Secretary of State Tré Hargett.

"I am extremely pleased with the success of early voting for this important election," Hargett. "I encourage all eligible voters who have not cast their ballots yet to take advantage of the opportunity to exercise their right to vote on Tuesday."

Among more than 1.45 million early voters, only 188 had to cast provisional ballots because they came to the polls without photo ID, Hargett said. Of that number, 54 had come back with valid ID as of Friday, he said.

Morgan said the number of absentee ballots is about 400 lower than in 2008, though they will continue to trickle in until Election Day. Two people cast provisional ballots, but neither was for lack of photo ID, she said.

about Judy Walton...

Judy Walton has worked 25 years at the Chattanooga Times and the Times Free Press as an editor and reporter focusing on government coverage and investigations. At various times she has been an assistant metro editor, region reporter and editor, county government reporter, government-beat team leader, features editor and page designer. Originally from California, Walton was brought up in a military family and attended a dozen schools across the country. She earned a journalism degree ...

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