published Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Early voting wraps up in Hamilton County

Beth Hamrick, bottom left, aids Taylor Walden, 18, as she votes for the first time at the Hamilton County Election Commission in this file photo.
Beth Hamrick, bottom left, aids Taylor Walden, 18, as she votes for the first time at the Hamilton County Election Commission in this file photo.
Photo by Dan Henry.
  • photo
    Mary Alice Jordan fills out her ballot during the last day of early voting at the Hamilton County Election Commission in this file photo.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
    enlarge photo

  • photo
    Bill Adams hand out ballots during the last day of early voting at the Hamilton County Election Commission on Thursday.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
    enlarge photo

As voters streamed in and out of the Hamilton County Election Commission headquarters Thursday for their last chance to vote early, Republicans outnumbered Democrats by 2.5 to 1.

By noon, election officials had tallied a total of nearly 7,500 voters — about 2,080 Democrats to 5,300 Republicans. That’s more than double the number of early voters in the 2010 primary elections but a tiny fraction of the county’s nearly 220,000 registered voters.

Local party leaders said that based on voter turnout, the Hamilton County Commission and sheriff’s races are drawing the most interest. Seven of nine commission seats are contested, and incumbent Sheriff Jim Hammond is battling sheriff’s office patrol Sgt. Chris Harvey in the Republican primary.

Republican Party Chairman Tony Sanders said turnout was high in Commission District 1, where longtime Republican Commissioner Fred Skillern faces Randy Fairbanks, and in District 7, where three Republicans and two Democrats are waging primary battles for the chance to replace outgoing Commissioner Larry Henry. Three commission races will be decided in the primary.

Democratic Party Chairman Terry Lee thought back to last year’s Chattanooga council elections, where every contested council member — five of the nine races — was defeated.

If this year’s results track, he said, there could be some upsets on the commission, he said.

“In low turnouts, the people who are more likely to vote are those upset about something rather than people that think things are going well,” he said.

The first week of early voting was extremely slow, election officials said, but the pace picked up in the second week.

Last Thursday, only 2,655 people, or 1 percent of registered voters, had cast ballots.

At the election commission headquarters Thursday, several people who came on their lunch break said they liked the convenience of early voting. A few said they wanted to vote specifically to upset an incumbent.

As Beverly Adams walked out, she said tried to get both party ballots because it was difficult to decide which one to take.

“They told me no,” she said with a laugh.

Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at jlukachick@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6659.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement
400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.