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Civics 101: Tuesday is Election Day

J. H. Osborne • Mar 2, 2020 at 1:45 PM

Tuesday is Election Day for the presidential preference primary as well as for several local offices in Sullivan County, where polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Things to know

• Tennesseans should remember to bring valid photo identification to the polls. A driver’s license or photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, by Tennessee state government or by the federal government is acceptable even if they are expired. College student IDs are not acceptable.

• On Election Day, voters must cast ballots only at their assigned polling place.

• There are two ballots: one for the Democratic primary and one for the Republican primary. Voters may cast a ballot in only one of the two. In addition to the U.S. presidential primaries, voters will choose nominees for several county offices, many of which are uncontested.

• Voters who wish to confirm their registration status can do so by using the voter lookup feature online.

Early voting turnout trends

During the 12-day early voting period leading up to the presidential preference primary, turnout in the Democratic primary increased dramatically in Washington County compared to 2016, according to the Tennessee Secretary of State’s Office.

In fact, that increase — 104.21% (more than double) compared to 2016 — is the third largest increase statewide. The numbers: 2,618 this year, compared to 1,282 in 2016. Sullivan County saw a double-digit increase — 27.12% — in turnout for the Democratic primary during early voting (2,053 this year, compared to 1,615 in 2016), while Hawkins County saw a 3.37% increase (521 this year, compared to 504 in 2016).

Washington County’s numbers for turnout in the Democratic primary are more striking when compared to early voting during the 2012 presidential preference primary. Turnout this year (2,618 ballots cast) represents a more than twelve-fold increase (1202.49%) compared to 2012 (201 ballots cast). That ranks Washington County as fourth, statewide, in increased early voting turnout for this year compared to 2012.

Statewide, turnout for early voting in the Democratic primary increased by 31.99%: 169,447 ballots cast, compared to 128,374 during early voting in the Democratic primary in 2016.

During the early voting period, turnout in the Republican primary decreased in Sullivan County by more than half (52.07%) compared to 2016 (3,132 this year, compared to 6,535 in 2016). In Hawkins County, early voting turnout for the Republican primary decreased by 44.99% compared to 2016 (1,586 this year, compared to 2,883 in 2016). And in Washington County, early voting turnout for the Republican primary increased by 3.39% compared to 2016 (4,878 this year, compared to 4,718 in 2016).

Statewide, turnout for early voting in the GOP primary decreased by 35.07%: 167,018 ballots cast, compared to 257,209 during early voting in the Republican primary in 2016.

Statewide total comparison by party: 169,447 voters cast early ballots in the Democratic primary; 167,018 voters cast early ballots in the Republican primary.

Sample ballots for Sullivan County voters, Democratic and Republican, are available online with other election information at www.scelect.org.

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