Many speculate what or who is driving voters to the polls - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Many speculate what or who is driving voters to the polls

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -  It’s a hot button issue for many Chattanooga voters.

“I’ve seen some of the discrimination they face and I just want to be here in solidarity to support them,” Beth Foster said.

Hundreds of groups, churches and individuals march to show their support for equality.

Saturday is the last chance to cast an early vote before Election Day on Thursday.

So far, in Hamilton County, more than 14,000 people have cast a ballot. That’s almost 5,000 more votes than through the same period in August 2010.

Overall, Tennessee has seen an increase of more than 33,000 votes compared to the same election four years ago.

Many have speculated what or who is driving voters to the polls.

Stuart James is the former chairman of the Democratic Party in Hamilton County. He says the District 3 congressional race between Chuck Fleischmann and Weston Wamp has been contentious, to say the last, drawing in more attention than four years ago.

“This time it’s a one on one person race and Wamp has been surprisingly successful in getting money. He’s raised over $500,000 from donors within the district and then he’s gotten PAC money from a super PAC of about $300,000, so that’s made it competitive,” James added.

Robin Smith is the former head of the state Republican Party and says judicial races could also be a reason voter turnout is high. Those races weren’t on the ballot in 2010.

“People may have delayed their vote just to see what else is portrayed through the mail,” Smith added.

Numbers show twice as many Republicans have voted over Democrats, something analysts say may not help pass the Domestic Benefits Ordinance.

Regardless of which side of the aisle you may fall, it’s an issue that’s stirring up a lot of emotion.

“Those against the ordinance, in large part have heavy religious feelings about it and think it’s a gay issue and it’s about having homosexual rights,” James said.

“I think people need to rise up and say this is the right thing to do, because it was,” John Dixon said.

But tonight, these folks show their support for fairness and progress over an issue we face as a nation.

“There aren’t as many Republicans that live in the city precincts as compared to the county. So, I think this is going to be one of the issues that you learn the night of the election,” Smith said.

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