KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Early voting in Knox County this year slipped by about 11,000 votes compared with 2018, a contest that saw a much livelier ballot.
According to the Knox County Election Commission, 31,564 people cast early votes during the 10-day period that ended Saturday. That compares with more than 42,500 people who voted early in July 2018, figures show.
Combining day-of turnout with the early and absentee turnout, 81,195 Knox Countians cast votes in August 2018.
The 2018 ballot included a very competitive GOP primary for Tennessee governor and a duel between Glenn Jacobs, a Republican, and Linda Haney, a Democrat, to be the next Knox County mayor.
Chris Davis, county elections administrator, said he's expecting an overall turnout, combining early and absentee plus day-of voting, of somewhere around 57,000 to 60,000 votes.
About 292,000 people are eligible to vote in Knox County.
Election Day is Thursday, Aug. 4. Polls are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In 2018, Republicans Bill Lee, Diane Black, Randy Boyd, and Beth Harwell faced each other in the gubernatorial primary. Several of them spent heavily in the run-up to the election. Lee went on to win the governor's race in November.
Another draw in 2018: Democrat Phil Bredesen and Republican Marsha Blackburn appeared on the ballot for their respective parties in a federal primary for an open U.S. Senate seat.
This year's ballot is heavy on local races, light on matches for federal office and relatively light for state offices.
Lee, the biggest Republican name in the running, is unopposed in the primary and he's the incumbent. Three Democrats are vying to represent their party in the statewide race for governor on Nov. 8.