Multiple counties report record early voting turnout five days before election

SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – The presidential election is just five days away and Tennessee has shown daily that it’s paying close attention.

Its been a busy past two weeks in our region as eager voters hit the polls. Early voting records have been broken across the state including some in the Tri-Cities.

In just five days we’ll find out who’s on their way to the White House as the candidates spend their final days battling it out on the campaign trail.

News Channel 11’s Justin Soto met voters who said early voting just makes the whole process easier.

“It felt cool I got to press the red button so I felt special when I pressed it,” young, Amira said.

Little Amira may not be able to vote just yet but her mom Heather wants to teach her young.

“I also bought my child with me to let her witness part of her civic duty of voting,” Heather Mullin said.

She was one of hundreds in Sullivan County who came out on the 14th and final day of early voting. Voters we spoke with had multiple reasons for coming out early.

Two voters said she wanted to avoid the long lines.

“I wanted to make sure that I got to vote and I was afraid it would be too crowded on Tuesday,” Donna Clay said.

“I didn’t want to have to spend my whole day here Tuesday I also work,” Mullin said.

One local mom said it’s tough with her schedule.

“I got two kids so I had to come out and vote while they were with their grandparents,” Jessica Hall said.

votingThey’re part of a record surge. In Sullivan County in 2008, 39,000 voters hit the polls early. That number dropped slightly in 2012 but this year, a new record, more than 43,000 Sullivan County resident voted early.

“Voters are showing a high interest in this election, and they’ve also come aware that early voting is the way to go to avoid a line on election day,” Jason Booher, Administrator of Elections for Sullivan County said.

Sullivan County wasn’t alone. Almost 2,500 people voted early on Tuesday in Washington County. Statewide almost 67,000 early voted today.

“I just wanted to try and beat the crowd on Tuesday,” Joe LaBarbara said.

Not everyone who wanted to, got to early vote. LaBarbara arrived shortly after 6 p.m. and he was told they had to shut the machines down.

“Yeah, I’m bummed I was hoping to get it over with and get it done,” LaBarbara said.

Instead, he’ll have to wait and vote the old-fashioned way on Nov. 8.

Sullivan County Election Officials told us 65-70% of registered voters cast early ballots. They’re expecting 23,000 more on election day Nov. 8.

Multiple counties report record early voter turnout: Carter County 11,547, Washington County 29,513, Hawkins County 12,993, Unicoi County 4,800, Johnson County 4,187. News Channel 11 has not yet heard back from Greene County.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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