Record number of early voters prompts Blount County to extend voting hours

Nov. 2, 2016: We've seen high voter turnout across East Tennessee as we near Election Day on Nov. 8th.

With a line out the door and down the street, Blount County early voters are making their voices heard. And county election leaders are listening.

"We have more registered voters coming out for this election than we've ever seen in the history of Blount County,” said Blount County Election Administrator Susan Hughes.

Because of the turnout, Blount County will keep its four early voting locations open an extra hour and a half Thursday. 

As of Wednesday, more than 30,000 people had voted early in Blount County, which is 40 percent of the county's registered voters heading to the polls before Nov. 8th.

Only 24,000 voted early back in 2008.

"The common remark I’m hearing is, there's no way I’m missing out on the biggest election in my lifetime,” said Hughes.

"We were expecting a big turnout, but not all this. But it's been great,” explained Blount County Library Officer of Elections Bill Kilgore.

First time voters are a big part of that high voter turnout. Election officials say that group can have a real impact on the election.

"It's exciting that this many people are coming out to vote, especially because this is my first time,” said first time voter McKenzie Davis.

"I didn't think I’d feel anything just clicking a button, but I feel pretty patriotic,” said first time voter Andrew Tilston.

Blount County officials say polls will still be busy on Election Day, but say that shouldn't discourage anyone from voting.

"Everybody needs to come out and vote and do their civic duty," Hughes said.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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