Early voting sets record pace

Drew Butler
The line for early in person voting wraps around the courtyard outside the Carter County Election Board on Saturday afternoon.

A record number of citizens chose to vote early in Carter County this year. Early in-person voting took place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and Carter County Election Board Secretary Diane Hall said over 2,400 citizens chose this method of voting.

This year has also seen a record 2,331 voters request an absentee ballot, and as of Saturday afternoon 1,735 have been returned. While ballots received in the mail on Monday and Tuesday will be counted, anyone who has not yet mailed in their absentee ballot will now need to deliver it in person to the Carter County Election Board by 5 p.m. on Monday in order to guarantee it gets counted.

“Between the early voting and the absentee ballots, over 4,100 people voted early this year,” Hall said. “In 2016 we had a combined total of 2,666 early votes, so we’ve seen a major increase for this election.”

Hall said early voters were waiting in line when the polls opened all three days of early voting. Hall said hundreds of people were lined up prior to opening on Saturday. The line stretched around the courtyard at the Carter County Administration Building, down A Street, and wrapped around to Broadway. After the opening rush, Hall said most voters waited between one to two hours to vote.

With early voting complete, voters who have not requested absentee ballots will need to visit their polling place on Tuesday to vote on Election Day. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., however anyone who is still waiting in line at 7 p.m. will still be able to cast their ballot.