Early voting under way

Jeremy Styron-News-Herald

County residents seemed eager to have their voices heard this week as poll workers have been handling a stream of voters hoping to beat Election Day crowds.

"It has been steady," volunteer poll worker Barbara Reynolds said while assisting voters Monday at Roane State Community College in Lenoir City. "Friday, it was too. We were really surprised. We thought we would be bored, but we haven't been."

Early voting for the state primary and county general election began Friday and continues though July 28. Three locations - the Loudon County office building, Roane State and Tellico Village Community Church - will be available for early voting.

"We're pleased," Administrator of Elections Susan Harrison said about voter turnout so
far. "We'll start early voting out at Tellico Village on Wednesday."

Early voting in Tellico runs Wednesday through Saturday. Voting times are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at all locations.

"Early voting is a convenient way for voters to be sure their voices are heard," Harrison said in a press release. "With this kind of flexibility, I hope that our voters will not miss this opportunity to exercise their right to vote."

Statewide races
In state Republican primary races, Sen. Bob Corker is running against Fred Anderson, Mark Clemens, Brenda Lenard and Zach Poskevich for a seat in the U.S. Senate, while in the House, Rep. John Duncan Jr. is running against Nick Ciparro and Joseph Leinweber Jr. Jimmy Matlock, who represents the 21st District in the state House of Representatives, is unopposed. In the 32nd District House race, Rep. Julia Hurley faces challenger Kent Calfee.

Sen. Roy Herron is not seeking reelection in 2012. Local voters will choose between Mark Clayton, Larry Crim, Gary Davis, Dave Hancock, Park Overall, T.K. Owens and Benjamin Roberts for Herron's position.

County residents will also determine four contested seats on the Loudon County Board of Education. For District 1, Seat A, incumbent Bill Marcus faces Ken Hupp and Kenny Ridings, while Seat B incumbent Scott Newman is unopposed. In District 3, Michael Phillips faces Phil Moffett. For District 5, Seat A, incumbent Gary Ubben is being challenged by Brian Brown, Teresa Karimian and Freddie Walker, while on Seat B, incumbent Van Shaver faces Jeremy Buckles.

In Lenoir City, residents will be asked to consider an amendment that will change the city recorder position from popularly elected to appointed by City Council. Voters living inside the city will also vote on whether to change the mayor's term from two years to four years beginning Nov. 6.

Good numbers
According to voting officials, the Lenoir City location served about 140 people Friday and about 70 Saturday.

Reynolds said they would probably approach 160 voters by the end of the day Monday.

Sue and David Callaway of Lenoir City said the couple routinely takes advantage of early voting.

"We always early vote and would have come Friday, but we had a conflict," Sue Callaway said. "It's one of the best things they've come up with to get people to vote."

Ronnie Green of Lenoir City also said he never misses the chance to hit the polls. "I believe a person needs to vote," he said. "... I always vote."

Harrison said voters will need to bring a state or federal photo identification to vote in person on or before Election Day. Acceptable IDs include driver's licenses, U.S. passports, U.S. military IDs or other forms of photo identification.

Reynolds concurred with her co-worker Janice Spoon about the solid numbers of people who had come to the polls thus far.

"We really thought it wouldn't be busy, but it's been a steady stream hasn't it?" Reynolds said.

"It has," Spoon said.

For more information, call 865-458-2560 or visit: http://www.loudoncounty votes.com.