November ‘very difficult to plan for’ says TN’s top election official

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The state coordinator of elections says the November election is “very difficult to plan for because there is so much unknown.”

Mark Goins has held the job for nearly 12-years but this year with COVID-19 presents challenges no one could have anticipated.

“We have thought through every scenario, you could think of,” he told WKRN-TV last week. “Not only just planning for a polling location to be that can be as safe as it can be under these circumstances with proper PPE (personal protection equipment), but also planning for a surge if you have, if you will on absentee ballots.”

The absentee ballot question has been a big one with nearly one in four votes cast in Nashville sent in by mail, but that is not the norm for previous elections before 2020.

“You are looking at 98-percent that will normally vote in person,” added Goins.

Roughly a million Tennesseans voted in the August primary.

The state election coordinator estimates two and a half million will vote in November, but there’s also pending litigation about absentee ballot eligibility that brings careful comments from Goins.

“Anytime you are dealing with litigation, it’s very difficult to plan one thing and then all of a sudden, you are thrown a curveball,” added the state election coordinator.

And if you have not registered to vote, that deadline looms in less than a month on Oct. 5.

More information about where and how you can vote is available on the state election website.

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