The Center Square [By Vivian Jones]-
More than half of registered voters in Tennessee cast their ballots by the last day of early voting, according to data from Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office.
About 2.3 million of the record-breaking 4.4 million Tennesseans registered to vote have cast ballots; 36% more votes than the same time period in the 2016 presidential election and 56% more votes than in 2012.
Earlier this year, World Population Review rated Tennessee 48th in the nation for voter turnout. Turnout during the 2016 presidential election was 62% – or about 2.5 million total votes cast. Turnout during the 2018 gubernatorial election was lower, at 54% and less than 2.3 million votes cast.
At the close of early voting Thursday, 13,000 more Tennesseans already had voted than during the entire 2018 contest. Tennessee’s voter participation so far reflects 90% of total votes cast during the 2016 presidential election and 92% of total votes cast in 2012.
All of Tennessee’s 95 counties saw increases in voter participation since 2016, with Scott County, north of Oak Ridge, reporting the highest increase with 64% more voters participating than in 2016. Bledsoe County, between Chattanooga and Crossville, reported a 63% increase in turnout. More than 50 percent more voters have cast early or absentee ballots in Cannon, Polk, Union, Grundy, Jackson, Marshall, Rutherford, Carroll, and Sequatchie counties.
Absentee ballots must be delivered by USPS or another delivery service to a resident’s county election commission by the time polls close on Election Day. In-person voting will continue on Election Day, which is Tuesday.