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Early voting numbers up 100 percent over 2016

Early voting for the Nov. 3 election started last week in Carroll County, and, according to the numbers, a lot more local voters are showing up to cast their ballots early than was the case during the last presidential election back in 2016.

State figures show that during the first four days of early voting, a total of 2,946 ballots were cast, including 2,543 early votes and 403 absentee ballots. That’s an increase of just over 100 percent over the same time period in 2016, when only 1,472 ballots had been cast by this point.

The busiest voting date so far in Carroll County was Friday, when 751 early ballots were cast, followed by 716 on Thursday, 699 on Wednesday, and 377 on Saturday.

“We are experiencing record early voting turnout,” said Carroll County Administrator of Elections Peg Hamlet in an email on Friday.

Voting totals from Monday were not available as of press time Monday afternoon.

Statewide, early voting is up 88.23 percent over 2016.

Voters interviewed outside the Carroll County Election Commission Office on Friday all said that they had a positive voting experience with courteous and helpful service by election workers and no long waits.

As to how voters cast their ballots, not all those interviewed were willing share their voting choices, but for those willing to tell, most said they checked incumbent Donald Trump for president.

Sara Keen, 32, of Cedar Grove said she voted for Trump, and she encouraged everyone to get out and vote, no matter who they support.

Alan Martin, 55, of Huntingdon was not afraid to advertise his Trump support as he sported both a Trump cap and a Trump shirt. But as voting laws don’t allow clothing or paraphernalia displaying political candidates or slogans inside a voting location, Martin had to remove his cap and turn his shirt inside out before casting his ballot.

Several admitted Trump voters did not want to be named, but some did state their reasons for their decision.

One Huntingdon woman said that she voted straight Republican because that party more closely represents her values, and an Atwood man and a McKenzie woman both expressed similar sentiments.

However, Neal Williamson, 73, of Trezevant said he is a proud Democrat and Joe Biden voter.

“I believe he [Biden] is the best man for the country,” said Williamson.

Rick Wallace, 46, of Huntingdon wasn’t willing to reveal his presidential choice, but he did say that he voted for incumbent Huntingdon Mayor Dale Kelley, who just happens to be his father-in-law.

Early voting in Carroll County will continue until Oct. 29 with the Election Commission Office being open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

Early voters must be able to show a state or federally issued photo identification card, unless they have an exemption. Those wishing to vote by absentee ballot may send a written request to the Election Commission Office or call (731) 986-1968 no later than Oct. 27.

Local election information can also be found online at www.carrollcountytnelections.com.

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