Election officials in Bradley county say there was a big turnout for early voting prior to this primary election day.

Many avoided potential lines and took advantage of early voting - a two-week window prior to the primary election. More than 5,500 ballots were cast by Saturday.

The Tennessee Secretary of State reports 5,531 Bradley County residents voted early or submitted an absentee. 4,647 voted in the Republican primary, 766 voted in the Democratic primary and 118 voted in the general.

Election officials hope that could be a sign of a huge turnout at polling locations as well.

Voters headed to the polls to cast their ballot in person

Local election officers say the day started out slower than normal, and they are encouraging those to stop by their local precinct to cast their vote which they say takes just a few minutes.

Hopewell Election Officer Ken Callihan said because this is an open presidential year, politics even at the local level are top of mind.

During the last open presidential election year, more than 10,000 Bradley County residents voted in person. Election officials believe this year local polling centers will see higher numbers.

"In the November election we expect a lot more and always have in the past but during primary it usually comes down to about 400 to 500,” Callihan said.

Polls close at 8 p.m. Thursday night, then election workers will tabulate totals from each voting machine at their precinct and post the results of each machine on the window outside of the polling center.