One week into early voting and some counties are doing much better than others in getting people to the polls after a warning from the top of Tennessee government, however, casting a ballot is taking a lot longer than usual.
“Vote smart, vote early,” has been the message from Secretary of State Tre Hargett, whose office oversees the elections for every county in Tennessee.
He and state elections coordinator Mark Goins say if a lot of people don’t vote early, the lines on Election Day, which is August 7, could be very long.
A ballot, considered one of the longest in state history, is taking people several minutes longer than the typical time to cast a ballot.
Taking longer to cast the ballot means people waiting longer usual, but the Secretary of State thinks if people heed his warning it shouldn’t be an issue for voters.
The judicial elections, which fall on an eight-year cycle, are the principal reason for the lengthy ballot.
At Davidson County’s Howard Office Building, it was taking some up to 20 minutes to cast their ballot.
Many even came with “cheat sheets” to get them through the process quicker.
Even with her “cheat sheet” sample ballot, Wanda Rhudy told News 2 it took her 10 minutes in the voting booth, “but my husband took twice as long. We also had a lot of write-ins.”
In the first four days of early voting that began last Friday, Davidson County lagged behind the early vote totals for the first four days of 2010.
Rutherford and Williamson counties were far different.
Early voting in Rutherford was up almost 100% for the first days this year compared to the same time in 2010.
In Williamson County, it was about 50%.