BLOUNTVILLE — Sullivan County election officials have considered adding extra early voting days due to an anticipated long ballot for the upcoming Republican Party primary.
Voters in that Feb. 5 primary will see a list of more than 200 names of would-be delegates under various Republican candidates’ names, said Gena Frye, Sullivan County administrator of elections.
The 2008 presidential preference primaries are Feb. 5. Early voting begins Jan. 16. The last day to register to vote in the primaries is Jan. 7.
Frye said the ballot for the Democratic presidential primary will be comparatively short because it won’t include names of individual delegates.
Voters in the Republican primary will have to scroll through several pages of ballot, and that could mean delays or lines on Election Day.
Frye said it would be hard to reserve extra days at early voting satellite locations at this point.
Sullivan County Election Commission members said more voting machines will be added to early voting locations instead.
The group also plans to continue efforts to raise voter awareness of absentee voting options.
If you’re over 65, you can request an absentee ballot with no further explanation.
And no matter your age, if you’re a registered voter — or plan to be in time to vote in a Feb. 5 presidential preference primary — election officials hope you’ll consider early voting.
Early voting locations for Sullivan County voters are the same three sites used for elections earlier this year: the Kingsport Civic Auditorium; the county’s election offices in Blountville; and the YWCA in Bristol.
Early voting is always encouraged, but the possibility of inclement winter weather on Feb. 5 could make getting to the polls a challenge for some voters, election officials say.
The only local office on the ballot for the Feb. 5 primaries is county property assessor.
Incumbent Bobby Icenhour filed to seek re-election as the Republican Party’s nominee. He is the only candidate on the ballot, facing no challengers from within his own party and no independent or Democratic candidates.
The deadline for filing a petition was noon on Dec. 13, and the deadline to withdraw was Dec. 20. The Election Commission met at noon that day and certified the local ballot, with Icenhour the only candidate.
County voters will elect a property assessor in August.
In Sullivan County, the only other county offices on the August ballot are constables and seats on the school board, Frye said. Those races are nonpartisan and not included in primaries.
The general election in November of next year, when Americans will elect the nation’s next president, is expected to draw a heavy turnout, Frye said.
For more information, visit www.sullivancountyelections.org or www.state.tn.us/sos/election/.