Turnout for early voting in Coffee County was “very high” this year, according to Administrator of Elections Vernita Davis.
As of Thursday, the last day of early voting, 12,686 county residents had voted early in Tuesday’s presidential election.
“It’s been really busy,” Davis said. “It is busier than 2012.”
During the presidential election in 2012, which saw the re-election of President Barack Obama, 9,905 voters cast their ballots early in Coffee County. A total of 17,200 county residents voted in the election. According to Davis, in 2012, there were about 25,600 residents registered to vote.
“In 2016, we had 12,686 early voters and about 32,600 residents are registered to vote,” Davis said.
While the number for early voting this year was high, the record was set in 2008, when President Obama was elected the first time. In Coffee County, 13,272 people voted early.
The Republicans carried Coffee County in both of those elections – McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012.
Davis expects this year for the total number of voters to reach the 2008 level of about 21,000.
Voting for the first time
One of the early voters this year was Tullahoma High School senior Michael Celiberti, who turned 18 on Oct. 25 and cast his ballot on Oct. 26.
“I haven’t really been big into politics, but this whole election, I really got interested in politics and how it works,” Celiberti said. “I was very excited to finally go vote. I have heard my parents talking about going to vote before, but didn’t think much about it. But when I was there in the booth, it really hit me. It is our civic duty to vote, and it felt amazing to vote.”
Celiberti said many of his friends became interested in politics, too.
“Some of them are skeptical about this election because there is so much controversy with the candidates,” Celiberti said. “Some are kind of excited, some don’t care, and some don’t have a preference. I think most of them would vote though, from what I have heard from my friends, and a lot of them have already voted.”
Celiberti encourages everyone to take a part in choosing the next president of the United States.
“We are electing somebody that’s going to run the United States for the next four years, maybe even eight years,” Celiberti said. “You want to make sure you are voting for whoever you want in the Oval Office in the White House. Voting in the election is big, really big.”
“Be prepared,” Davis said. “Everyone needs to bring a photo ID and be prepared for a long line. That way, you won’t be disappointed if you have to wait.”
Davis expects no problems on Election Day.
“Machines are working great,” she said. “They are trustworthy. I want to stress that voters should look at their review screen (on the voting machine). That’s the voters’ best friend on Election Day. The review screen tells them exactly who they voted for. And if they don’t see their candidate, they can go back into the ballot and redo the ballot. But once they punch the word ‘confirm,’ there is no going back.”
On Election Day, voters have to go to a certain precinct depending on where they live. To find out which is your voting location, visit www.govotetn.com. If you have any questions, call the election commission at (931) 723-5103.
Voting locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
On the ballot
The ballot includes candidates running for President and Vice President of the United States, the United States House of Representatives Congressional District 6, Tennessee Senatorial District 16 and Tennessee House of Representatives District 47.
The Republican Party nominees for president and vice president are Donald Trump and Michael Pence, respectively.
The Democratic Party nominees for president and vice president are Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, respectively.
Running for president as independent candidates are “Rocky” Roque De La Fuente with running mate Michael Steinberg; Gary Johnson with running mate William Weld; Alyson Kennedy with running mate Osborne Hart; Mike Smith with running mate Daniel White; and Jill Stein with running mate Ajamu Baraka.
In the United States House of Representatives District 6, incumbent Diane Black will face David Kent, who is running as a Democrat, and David Ross, who is running as an independent candidate.
In the state Senate District 16 race, incumbent Republican Janice Bowling will face Mike Winton, who is running as a Democrat.
In the state House of Representatives District 47 race, Republican Judd Matheny is running unopposed.
Record 1.6 million Tennesseans vote early
Tennesseans showed up in strong numbers to vote early for the Nov. 8 general election.
According to information from Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office, a record-breaking 1,675,679 people voted early or cast absentee ballots across the Volunteer State’s 95 counties from Oct. 19 through Nov. 3.
That turnout easily beat the record set during the 2008 presidential election when 1,579,960 Tennesseans voted early in person or by mail.
Hargett’s office also reports that a record 1.24 million Tennesseans voted during the March 1 presidential preference primary or “SEC Primary.”
“I’m thrilled people are engaged and took advantage of the convenience of early voting,” said Hargett. “Now our attention turns to Election Day to ensure we continue to conduct fair and honest elections across the state.”
Posted on November 5, 2016 by Elena Cawley