East Tennessee welcomes large early voting turnout

Voters turn out in numbers to cast ballot ahead of March 1 primary.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Voters turned out to the polls in numbers on Tuesday to cast early ballots a week ahead of Super Tuesday.

Early voters cast about one third of all ballots in the 2012 and 2008 elections in Tennessee. The early option reduces wait time and allows them to choose their polling location.

Poll workers warn voters of longer than usual wait times on March 1 due to a lengthy Republican ticket.

People stood in long lines to vote early.
People stood in long lines to vote early.

With Tennessee’s primary ballots set in December, 10 candidates who dropped out of the race are still listed, giving voters the chance to choose between 14 Republicans and three Democrats for president, depending on which party they declare.

Related story: Tennessee early voting for presidential primary underway

“This year there’s a very long ballot on the Republican side so if you get in early, you won’t have to face the really long lines that we’re anticipating on Election Day,” said poll worker Leon Stratikis.

Some Republican voters expressed frustration over how long it took to submit a ballot due to having to scroll through all 14 candidate and delegate options.

“I gave up hallway through,” said Nancy Mitchell. “We should be able to make all our selections and press one time. It was kind of ridiculous.”

Still, poll workers reported an above average turnout, with a single Knox County location welcoming nearly 2,000 voters on Monday.

“We had lines all day long,” said poll worker David Best. “We processed fairly quickly but we had lines all day long.”

More than 214,000 people in Tennessee voted through Saturday.

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