Early voting turnout low for races in Kingsport, Bristol and Bluff City

J. H. Osborne • May 11, 2007 at 9:12 AM

BLOUNTVILLE - Early voting ain't what it used to be, at least turnout-wise, for city elections in Kingsport, Bristol and Bluff City.

Early voting, which began April 25 for the three municipal elections, ended Thursday.

Of nearly 37,000 voters registered, total, in the three cities, 1,662 took advantage of early voting opportunities.

That's compared to 2,315 early voters for the same elections in 2003 and 2,702 in 2005.

During early voting, a registered voter in any one of the cities can cast an early ballot at any early voting location - so location totals released Thursday don't necessarily match up voters with particular elections.

According to early voting totals released Thursday by the Sullivan County Election Commission:

•In Kingsport - where voters will elect a mayor, three aldermen and three school board members - 1,127 early ballots were cast. There are 22,881 registered voters eligible to vote in the Kingsport election.

•In Bristol - where voters will elect two members of the city council, two school board members, a juvenile court judge and a juvenile court clerk - 406 early ballots were cast. There are 13,118 registered voters eligible to vote in the Bristol election.

•The third early voting location is Blountville, which election officials say typically attracts early voters from Bluff City - where voters will elect three aldermen. Officials said 129 early ballots were cast in Blountville. There are 841 registered voters eligible to vote in the Bluff City election.

The heaviest single-day turnout during this early voting period was Wednesday, when 322 ballots were cast, total, at the three locations. The lightest single-day turnout was April 28, when only one ballot was cast. At that time, only the Blountville location was open.

Polls will be open Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For a list of voting locations, candidates or other election information call 323-6444 or visit www.sullivancounty.org/ and click on the Election Office link.

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