Interest in November election seems high on first day of early voting period in East Tennessee

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CARTER & SULLIVAN CO., Tenn. (WJHL) — Interest in the November election looks to be very high.

Long lines extending from the entrance of the Sullivan County Courthouse, on the first day of the early voting period.

People were greeted with long lines at voting locations around the region as early voting officially got underway in Tennessee on Wednesday.

All across Northeast Tennessee long lines have been spotted at voting locations for the first day of the early voting period. Voters from both Sullivan and Carter counties spoke on why they chose to exercise their right to vote.

“It’s important because it’s my only opportunity to try to get the things that I want in our government,” Sullivan County resident Robert Schoborg said.

Long wait times are not discouraging East Tennesseans to cast their ballots in early. The average wait time for Sullivan County voters on Wednesday was about 30 minutes.

Voters are expected to turn out in record numbers in Sullivan County.

“We anticipate around 68,000 voters will cast a ballot, whereas there were only 26,000 in August,” Sullivan County Administrator of Elections Jason Booher said.

Booher added that the office has received an influx of calls about questions that can be answered online.

“Encourage voters to look at our website, prior to appearing to vote either during early voting or on Election Day. You can confirm your registration status to make sure your address is current, view sample ballots, as well as the early voting schedule,” Booher said. “And it’s far more efficient for both the voter and for us to look at the website.”

The website Booher mentioned can be found here.

Sullivan County residents like Ginger Ogden voted early because she believes the world depends on it.

“It was very important for me to vote early because there’s so much voter suppression going on. I just wanted to make sure that I got my vote in and it is so important. The most important election that we’ve ever had in my lifetime,” Ogden said. “People please, get out and vote because our country, the world, our lives depend on it.”

Across county lines, Carter County residents experiencing 45 minutes to an hour wait times.

Carter County voter Charles Woods said: “I’m here to support my president and to ensure that our freedoms are continued, that we don’t have to worry about taking away our rights to our own opinions, like putting a Trump flag up, somebody gets mad. I’m just against that.”

Carter County resident Charles Woods feels voting early is the best way to ensure his vote counts.

Woods added: “I’m retired military, disabled veteran. I fought for my right to vote and I fought for my right, for my country. That’s what my president is doing and I just support him in it.”

For Kim Holoubeck, it is about exercising her right to vote during the centennial of the 19th Amendment being passed.

Long lines wrapping around the Carter County Courthouse, on the first day of the early voting period.

“No matter who you vote for, you must vote because people before us did not have that right. Legitimately, did not have that right,” Holoubeck said. “I think it’s important that not only we vote, but we try to learn as much as we can about the people that we are putting in office. To be patriotic, I think is the most important thing that we can do here in America.”

Those who are registered to vote and plan to vote early are asked not to forget their state or federally issued photo ID before heading to the polls.

Early voting locations can be found here.

Early voting in Tennessee runs through Thursday, October 29, 2020.

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