On Wednesday’s Gill Report – broadcast live on WETR 92.3 FM in Knoxville – Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill discussed the early voting trends and the possibility of a new early voting record that could be set across the state of Tennessee.
Gill said, “As voters have headed to the poll over the last about a half week, early voting started on Friday across the state. It continued for a half-day on Saturday in most locations, a lot of counties across the state are still limiting the early voting to having to go to one location in the county – and it’s not really that convenient in a lot of counties.”
And yet we’re seeing very heavy turnout with early voting already to date. As we look again with the numbers through the 17th which would be yesterday. Basically, the secretary of state’s office puts the numbers out each date to kind of give us guidance into what the numbers are and where they are headed.
Well as of through yesterday, there were 93,961 republicans who had voted early. 41,182 Democrats across the state. So, you are still seeing about a 35% Democrat, 60%-65% Republican vote across the state. So again, you do have some pockets where Democrat turnout has been relatively significant in early voting but still the overwhelming number amount of votes that are being cast in the republican primary.
Now again nearly 100,000 votes just in the first four days including again a Saturday when the early voting locations are rather limited, how does that compare to say 2014 when you had a contested Republican primary for a US senate seat where you had Lamar Alexander running for re-election. You had Joe Carr challenging him. You had Dr. George Flynn who was also in that race, not spending a lot of money, not getting a lot of support, but certainly getting about 35,000 or 40,000 votes as I recall.
The total Republican primary vote that election cycle in the August primary was about 600,000 votes, so we’re already about 1/6th of where that entire vote went just a few years ago. So, I think again that’s an indication that we are looking at very heavy turnout at the end of the day.
Usually we are going to see maybe about 50% of the vote cast at early voting. If the same trends continue that were seeing in the first three or four days throughout the early voting period. We could see 400,000 early votes cast. Which means we could be seeing a record in early voting and a record in total turnout if those numbers carry forth.
Again, we’re going to continue to update you on the early voting totals as we move ahead. But pretty significant turnout and in pockets, very heavy turnout across the state.
Listen to the segment:
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