Absentee Ballot Requests Surge As Early Voting Begins

Hamilton County, TN – The Hamilton County Election Commission reports a 91% increase in absentee voting with over 7,700 votes cast before in-person voting even started.

County election officials have received over 14,000 ballot requests and expect to receive more until the Oct. 27 request deadline.

With the enormous influx of mail-in absentee voting, postal workers have created a special task force to address last minute problems before the election.

Apparently, the USPS expects missent ballots in this election cycle.

In a News9 interview, USPS worker Judy Stocker said, “We’ve got incomplete addresses, wrong street addresses, carriers bringing stuff back because that person is no longer at that house.”

Vote counting will not begin in Tennessee until election day, with the state already receiving over 58,000 returned absentee ballots by mail.

In Tennessee, returned absentee ballots are locked away as they arrive until Nov. 3.

However, the NY Times notes that states such as Florida and North Carolina can start counting their absentee votes earlier than election day.

“Tom Bonier, the chief executive of TargetSmart, a Democratic data firm, said his models showed Democrats with a 10-point advantage among the 275,000 first-time voters nationwide who had already cast ballots and an 18-point lead among 1.1 million “sporadic voters” who had already voted.”, wrote the NY Times.

Professor Michael McDonald of the University of Florida also added that with a higher absentee ballot return rate, Democrats are casting more pre-election day votes at a faster rate than Republicans.

It remains to be seen how Republicans turn out for in-person voting, with early voting in Tennessee running from Oct. 14 to Oct. 29.

The AJC reports long early voting lines for Georgia’s Atlanta-based counties, so high election turnout could result in similar wait times for Hamilton County.

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