First day of early voting brings out thousands of voters


SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – The first day of early voting in Tennessee brought out thousands of people who were ready to cast their vote.

“I was just anxious to get my vote in,” said Sullivan County resident, Mechell Leonard.

Some people were voting for the first time, like Heath Robinette. “It was fairly simple and easy, quick so it wasn’t bad,” he said.

Some voters, like Chuck Arnold, said this election is the most important one in their lifetime.

“Whether we want to keep on going the way we’re going or going the direction that we did in year’s past,” Arnold explained.

This year, more than 97,000 people registered to vote in Sullivan County. That’s up almost 7,000 from the 2012 election.

Jason Booher, Administrator of Elections in Sullivan County, says although the final Presidential Debate does not air until after polls close, he believes many voters already have their minds made up.

“I would say 80% if not 90% knew who they were going to vote for back in August,” Booher said.

Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump has claimed the election is rigged. Voters in Sullivan County echoed those concerns.

“Well when dead people are voting I think there’s a problem,” Arnold said.

Robinette agreed saying, “it is a little absurd in ways, but I see where he comes from”.

But Booher says key factors make it impossible.

“There’s no concern here,” he said. “The voting machines in Sullivan County, they’re not even capable of being connected to the internet and no component of the technology that we use is ever connected to the internet with the voting.”

When it comes to election officials, he said a minimum of 2 people from each party are involved in each and every aspect of the voting process.

“Everyone engaged in the process has taken an oath and signed an oath and if they violate that oath, and we’ve never had anybody do so, then it’s prosecutable under the law.”

Whether or not voters agree on a candidate, they did agree everyone should get out and vote.

“I would like to see it done properly and everybody be civil about it. We all have a right and it’s important,” Arnold said.

Early voting in Tennessee continues through November 3.Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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