Early Voting Numbers Show Record Start In Tennessee

Local News

Tennessee’s early voting is off to a record start for mid-term elections. State capitol newsroom reporter Chris Bundgaard looks at the first day totals and the race getting people to the polls.

Yes, there’s a Governor’s race, but it’s the contest between a former Governor and a Congressional member getting all the attention.

At the end of the first day for early voting, more than 120,000 people, a first day record for mid-term voting, cast their ballots in Tennessee, according to estimates from the Secretary of State’s office.

Those figures dwarf similar first day early voting numbers from mid-term elections in 2014 and 2010 of nearly 33,000 and 45,000.

No one doubts the U.S. Senate race between Democrat Phil Bredesen and Republican Marsha Blackburn is driving people to polls. The race gets international attention as well, like from this Norwegian journalist.

“Bredesen has Norwegian heritage, so that makes it a little interesting for us and obviously everybody is following American politics in general,” says Vegard Kvaale.

Blackburn claims no such heritage, but the interest in her race has drawn heavy spending from the NRA and campaign appearances by its chief lobbyist Chris Cox.

“Going to be supporting Marsha Blackburn as a champion of international freedom in this state and country, your most important race, I am here for a reason,” said Cox.

With two recent polls, one local and one international, showing more evidence of a dead heat, the candidates in Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race know their contest will likely come down to getting out their vote. 

“We are working hard every day and for everyone listening to your reports, I ask for your vote,” says Blackburn.

“I am just doing the best job I can, presenting my brand, my approach to the job and we will see what people want,” says Bredesen.

The early voting underway could be up to half of the total count come election day November 6th. The Secretary of State’s office included absentee ballots in its early voting totals.

Davidson County had the highest turnout with just under 15,000 votes cast.

The Shelby County Election Commission sent this information Thursday to Local 24 on early voting here so far:

A total of 10,343 people early voted in person yesterday.  A total of 632 people voted in nursing homes, and total of 470 absentee ballots have been returned for a total of 11,445 voters to date.

By this point in the 2014 November election, a total of 3,215 people had early voted or by absentee or nursing home. By this point in the 2016 November election, a total of 16,652 people had voted by all methods. 

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