Early voting still slow, but steady

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The early voting turnout in Bradley County is on track with the same time period in the 2016 election cycle.

“We’re still kind of slow running,” said Fran Green, Bradley County’s administrator of elections, on Saturday after the early voting locations closed. “But we’re right in line with 2016.”

Early voting is open for the Presidential Preference Primary and Bradley County Primary elections. For those who don’t choose early voting, Election Day will be Tuesday, March 3.

Green said 260 people voted Saturday, bringing the total number of voters during this early voting period to 1,529.

In comparison, Green said by this point in the 2016 early voting period, 1,531 people had cast ballots.

Early voting began on Feb. 12, with 258 people casting ballots that day. Green said weather may have been a contributing factor to the low turnout on the first day of this early voting period.

Early voting will continue through Tuesday, Feb. 25; however, there will be no early voting on Presidents’ Day which is Monday, Feb. 17. Voters may cast their ballots during early voting Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Three early-voting locations are available in Bradley County:

• Bradley County Election Commission Office, 155 Broad St. N.W., in downtown Cleveland in the Courthouse Annex building;

• The former BB&T Bank building, 2375 McGrady Drive S.E., between Advance Auto and Walgreens; and

• Bradley Square Mall, 200 Paul Huff Parkway N.W., Suite 612, in the former Bath & Body Works store.

In the last election cycle, the mall opened for business at 10 a.m. and opened for walkers at 9 a.m. — the polls also opened at 9. However, Green said the mall now opens for business at 11 a.m., for walkers at 10 a.m., and at 9 a.m. for early voting.

Green said anyone wanting to take advantage of early voting “has to go in the back door before 10 o’clock.” From 9 to 10 a.m., early voters need to use the door by OK Maguey restaurant, on the movie theater side of the mall.

Voters should bring a valid photo identification to vote, this includes a driver’s license, a photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security or a passport. College student IDs are not acceptable.

In the Presidential Preference Primary, Republican candidates on the ballot are President Donald Trump, Joe Walsh (who dropped out after meeting Tennessee’s filing deadline) and Bill Weld. Democratic candidates listed on the Tennessee ballot are Michael Bennet, Joseph Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang.

Some Democratic candidates — Bennet, Booker, Castro, Delaney, Patrick, Williamson and Yang — have recently suspended their campaigns.

Along with casting votes for the U.S. presidential candidates, voters will also be choosing delegates for each.

In the Bradley County Primary, the lone candidate is incumbent Assessor of Property Stanley M. Thompson, who faces no opposition in the Republican Primary. No candidates qualified for the ballot in the Democratic Primary.

For more information about early voting for the March 3 elections, call the Bradley County Election Commission at 738-7115 or visit www.bradleyelections.com.

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