Deadline to register for Nov. 6 vote nearing

J. H. Osborne • Sep 29, 2012 at 10:31 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Sullivan County residents who are not already registered to vote have about a week left to do so and be eligible to vote in the presidential and other elections on Nov. 6.

“The last day to submit a voter registration application in person at the election office and be eligible to vote in the Nov. 6 election is Monday, Oct. 8,” Sullivan County Administrator of Elections Jason Booher said Friday. “Registration applications received with a postmark on or before Oct. 8 will be accepted. However, the post office will be closed on both Sunday, Oct. 7, and Monday, Oct. 8, 2012. Therefore the last day for a postmark from the post office will be Saturday, Oct. 6. I strongly advise anyone wishing to register to vote and be eligible for the Nov. 6 election submit or mail their application on or before Friday, Oct. 5.

In the most recent elections with similar office races on the ballot — November 2008 — 64,682 or 72% of the total registered voters in Sullivan County went to the polls, Booher said.

“As a result of the advancement in social media and a political climate that has the potential to motivate citizens to vote, I predict that we will match and most likely exceed the number of participating voters from November 2008,” Booher said. “I encourage voters to take advantage of the opportunity to cast their ballot during early voting between Oct. 17 and Nov. 1. Early voting offers voters the flexibility of voting on a day that is most convenient for them, and the time it takes to cast a ballot during early voting is typically less than what it will be on Election Day.”

Early voting hours have been adjusted in order to accommodate the schedule of more voters in this election, Booher said.

The Monday through Friday hours will be 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and on the two Saturdays 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Voters may cast their ballots during early voting at any of the three early voting locations in Sullivan County: the National Guard Armory in Bristol; the Election Office in Blountville; and the Civic Auditorium in Kingsport.

“It is important that voters remember that on Election Day voters must cast their ballot at their designated precinct,” Booher said. “Because the Election Office and Civic Auditorium are both early voting and Election Day voting locations, many voters incorrectly appear at those locations wishing to cast their ballot and must be redirected to the correct election day precinct. Voters may confirm their Election Day voting precinct by utilizing the voter lookup feature on our Web site or contact our office by e-mail or phone.”

Although Cedar Grove Elementary School is no longer being utilized as a school, it will continue to serve as a voting location on Election Day in this election, Booher said.

“Several improvements have been made in order to ensure accuracy and offer voters the highest level of service,” Booher said. “A new computer network and voter registration program have been installed in both the Election Office and at all three early voting locations. In addition we have obtained additional voting machines, enhanced election worker training, and made improvements to multiple voting procedures that allow us to raise the bar on the level of service we offer the citizens of Sullivan County. Our goal is to exceed expectations and offer voters a fast and pleasant experience when voting.”

State law now requires voters to present a state or federal government-issued photo ID in order to cast their ballot on a voting machine. Voters without an acceptable photo ID may obtain one for free from any DMV driver’s license testing station.

Voters without an acceptable photo ID will have the opportunity to cast a provisional ballot and will have until the close of business on Nov. 8 to appear at their local election office and present a state or federal government photo ID in order for their ballot to be counted. More information is available at www.scelect.org.

The Sullivan County Election Office may be reached at 323-6444 or by sending e-mail to admin@scelect.org.

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