published Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Early voting picks up in Franklin County

CAST YOUR BALLOT

Polls are open today from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. CDT at the Franklin County Annex in Winchester

Aug. 1: Election Day polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CDT

ELECTION DAY POLL LOCATIONS

Winchester: Franklin County Annex and Clark Memorial School

Huntland: Huntland Community Center

Cowan: Cowan Elementary School

Decherd: Decherd Elementary School

Estill Springs: Estill Springs Community Center

Source: Franklin County Election Commission

Today is the final day of early voting in Franklin County, Tenn.'s five municipal elections.

Elections officials said early voting has been slow but steady, with a little uptick at the end of the week.

"It's over [Saturday], but it's been slow," Deputy Administrator of Elections Dianne Zimmerman said Friday. "I think today's picking up a little bit more."

Margaret Ottley, the administrator of elections, said Winchester has drawn the most early voters, at 350 on Friday. Winchester has about 5,000 registered voters, Ottley said.

She said Estill Springs, which has 1,700 registered voters, had tallied 118 early ballots by Friday.

Cowan, with 1,200 registered voters, had 105 early votes cast through Friday afternoon, and of the 570 registered voters in Huntland, 17 had cast early ballots, Ottley said.

Decherd, which has two alderman seats and two candidates, drew 24 early voters.

Election officials said voter turnout for municipal elections has been "historically low," so the number of people casting ballots has been no surprise.

Cowan has a mayoral contest and three City Council seats on the ballot. Winchester, the county's largest city, has five candidates vying for three City Council seats.

Huntland voters will decide between an incumbent and challenger for mayor and will pick two winners from three candidates for alderman, while voters in Estill Springs will pick two candidates from four running for alderman.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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