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Voter turnout is lower than it was 4 years ago in Knox County, but people are still voting

Voters are heading to the polls, but the ballot is not as competitive as it was around 4 years ago.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — People in Knox County and beyond stopped by the polls on Thursday to cast their votes. Before the start of Election Day, the turnout percentage in Knox County barely made it into double-digits. Only one out of every 10 registered voters cast a ballot — a little more than 11%.

The four-page ballot included local, state and federal races. Some poll workers said August 2022's election had one of the longest ballots they've seen. For people who wanted to voice their opinions, this election gave them the chance to do so.

"For those people who actually want to get out and voice their opinion about how the government is run and what they want to see, this is the perfect election to do so," said Chris Davis, election administrator. "Because unlike some elections, where you may have five or ten things to vote on, [there's now] 58 to 61. If you'd like to vote, this is the election to come out and do it."

At Lincoln Park Center the flow of voters was smooth and steady, but not as busy as four years ago.

In 2018, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs brought in some heavy traffic. The Republican primary for governor at the time was also more competitive. This year, incumbent Governor Bill Lee is running unopposed.

For some voters, it's more about making your voice heard rather than the competition and the races.

"I never missed an election even when I was overseas," said Knox County voter Jim Campbell. "I'm a career military retiree and I never missed an election ... I would say get out and vote because your vote, your voice really counts and it's so important now maybe more so than ever before." 

One of the reasons this ballot is important is because it's the first time the school board is partisan. This means the board members can run either as Republicans or Democrats, if they choose to do so.

In the meantime, people will continue to head to the polls until the last minute. State law says anybody who is in line by 8 p.m. gets to vote. The county elections administrator said they may release election results a bit later in the night than they normally would, because of those long late lines.

For some voters, it's a matter of being American.

"Everyone should vote," said Linda Blackburn, officer of elections. "It's very important. And I think a lot of times people forget that people all around the world don't have that right and I think they should. They should appreciate it and vote."

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