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(The Center Square) – A global pandemic isn’t slowing down early voting for Tennessee’s primary. In fact, on Friday and Saturday, more than three times as many people voted early compared with the first two days of early voting in 2016’s primary election.
More than 91,000 early voters cast ballots Friday and Saturday, according to data released by the Secretary of State Division of Elections – a 234 percent increase over the same period in 2016 and a 180 percent increase over the same period in 2012.
Nearly 49,000 Republicans voted Friday and Saturday, a 179 percent increase from 2016. More than 40,000 Democratic voters cast votes in the first two days polls were open, more than five times the number of early Democratic voters in 2016.
In both parties, Davidson and Shelby counties saw the highest turnout increases. Davidson saw an increase from 485 voters in 2016 to 17,765 votes cast Friday and Saturday. Shelby County saw nearly nine times as many early voters as in 2016.
Lawrence County saw eight times the number of early voters than in 2016. Loudon County had more than six times as many voters as in 2016. Crockett, Lewis, Lincoln, Montgomery, Sevier, Smith and Washington counties also at least quadrupled turnout over the first two days of early voting.
County election commissions have worked with the Division of Elections to implement extensive precautions to limit the spread of the coronavirus at the polls.
Polling locations will be open for in-person early voting until Aug. 1. The primary is Aug. 6.