Knoxville — More than 45,000 people cast early ballots this month in Knox County, according to the Knox County Election Commission.

That represents about 19 percent of the county's 240,000 registered voters.

Election Day is Thursday and polls are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Early vote returns likely will be released by 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m.

Thursday's vote includes the state and federal primaries and the local general election.

Knox County's early vote turnout reflected the county's traditional Republican orientation. Of all early votes cast, 32,108 were Republican and 13,298 were Democratic, according to the Knox County Election Commission.

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Another 141 votes were cast only in the general.

As usual, the busiest early voting sites were at Downtown West -- 12,120 -- and Farragut -- 9,355. Combined, the two stations saw 47 percent of all early votes cast.

As of Friday, more than 570,000 people had voted in Tennessee early.

Several competitive races are drawing voters to the polls.

The primary for governor is among the most visible races. There are four leading GOP candidates and two Democratic candidates.

Locally, the 2nd Congressional District race to replace John J. Duncan Jr. also has proved competitive with multiple candidates for both parties.

On Thursday, Knox Countians also will elect a mayor and several county commissioners.

Among registered voters, people age 50 and up represent the greatest amount -- almost 121,000, according to the Election Commission.