According to Fran Green, Bradley County Elections administrator, 774 people cast votes Saturday prior to close, placing the early vote total at 8,155 versus 2008’s 5,189 early votes.
Thursday is the regular Election Day for County General and State Primaries.
Several individual races highlight the ballot, but the one believed to have attracted the large early voting turnout is the Wheel Tax Referendum. Voters are being given the choice of marking their ballots “For” or “Against” on the question of the tax referendum. If approved by voters, the wheel tax would add $32 to the cost of a motorized vehicle registration renewal each year, and $16 for a motorcycle.
Revenue from the proposed wheel tax is being earmarked for $32 million worth of capital improvement projects within the Bradley County and Cleveland school systems.
The referendum’s placement on the ballot was authorized by a Bradley County Commission resolution. The Cleveland City Council also favored placement of the referendum on the ballot. The Cleveland Board of Education has gone on record supporting the wheel tax, and Bradley County Board of Education Chairman Charlie Rose and Bradley County Schools Director Johnny McDaniel have lobbied publicly in support of the new tax as well.
Polling places will open at 8 a.m. Thursday and close at 8 p.m.
Voting locations will be at McDonald Ruritan Club, Hopewell Elementary School, Walker Valley High School, the Bradley County Senior Center, Michigan Avenue Elementary School, Blue Springs Concession, Community Services, Black Fox Elementary School, Cleveland High School, Stuart Elementary School, Waterville Community School, Valley View Elementary School, Blythe-Bower Elementary School, Oak Grove Elementary School, E.L. Ross, Prospect Elementary School and Lee University.
The following candidates will be on Thursday’s ballot:
For the Bradley County School board Ben Atchley, Laura Mountain and Christopher Turner, District 1; Melvin “Teddy” Bryson and Nicholas Lillios, District 3; Rodney Dillard, District 5; and Charlie Rose, District 7. Tony Whitener, Larry Anderson and Donna McDermott are on the ballot for Charleston City Council positions.
In the city of Cleveland, George Poe Jr. is seeking to retain his City Council at-large seat. Steve Morgan is unopposed in his Cleveland Board of Education at-large position. William J. “Bill” Wheeler and Avery L. Johnson are seeking the Cleveland City Council District 3 position. David W. May Jr. is focused on retaining his District 4 seat and Dale R. Hughes, Jonathon C. Porter and Thomas Tucker Johnston are among those seeking the District 5 City Council position. George Meacham is on the ballot for City School Board District 1 and Murl O. Dirksen for District 2.
Incumbent state Rep. Eric Watson, District 22 House of Representatives, will face David Kimbro for the Republican Primary race. The Democratic challenger is Jonathan Gladden. Jack Epperson is vying for the District 24 state House race and will face incumbent Republican Kevin Brooks.
Congressional Republican for the 3rd District candidates include incumbent Chuck Fleischmann, Ron Bhalla, Scottie Mayfield and Weston Wamp. On the Democratic ballot are Mary M. Headrick and Bill Taylor. In the 4th District Congressional race are Republicans Scott Desjarlais and Shannon Kelley. Eric Stuart is the Democratic contender in the primary.
In the new 10th Senatorial District, Todd Gardenhire and Greg Vital are the Republican candidates. Quenston Coleman, Andrae McGary and David Testerman are on the Democratic ballot.
Voters who did not meet the July 3 registration deadline will be able to cast ballots in the Nov. 6 State and Federal General elections.
For additional information, visit www.bradleyelections.com.