Local elections drive big early voting turnout - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local elections drive big early voting turnout

CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WRCB) -- "I don't think we've seen them this high for early voting," says Hamilton County Election Administrator Charlotte Mullis-Morgan.  

Morgan has worked for the election commission for 30 years. Until now, she says the largest number of early votes cast was in the 2008 presidential election.

"We only voted 8,000 something that year and we're already past 14,000," she says.  

Those record breaking numbers can be seen across the region, from north Georgia where more than 15,000 early voters cast their ballots to Tennessee. Statewide more than 250,000 votes have been cast so far.

"I see less polarization this time than I did two years ago," says UTC political science professor Rick Wilson. "People who were discouraged from voting are coming back."

Wilson says more voters are showing up at the polls for one reason, the local government election.

"It has to take over if we don't get leadership on the state and federal level. I think there is a feeling that we're not getting much progress on those levels," says Wilson. "Two years ago the number of Republican primary ballots was five times as great as the number of Democrat primary ballots. Today the numbers indicates almost even, that is two to one."

Early voting in Tennessee ends Saturday and voters like Thomas Varner are sure to show up. "That's the only control the individual person has," says Varner.

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