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Johnson County sees large turnout during early voting period

David and Sidney Timbs
Dr. David Timbs accompanies daughter, Sidney Timbs, a University of Tennessee student, as she exercises her right to vote for the first time by taking advantage of the early voting period at the Johnson County Election Commission office. Photo by Jill Penley

By Jill Penley
Freelance Writer

With just a few days until the state primary and county general election, local election officials report a large number of early votes cast. According to Johnson County Administrator of Elections Cheri Lipford, when early voting polls closed on Saturday at noon, 3,148 ballots had been cast. Sidney Timbs, a first-time voter, was among those choosing to cast a ballot during this period.

“I’m home from the University of Tennessee for the summer,” said Timbs. “I’m working at Appalachian Christian Camp this summer and will be working on Election Day. Since it was my first time being eligible to vote, I wanted to make sure I was able to vote. Early voting was great because I was able to participate.”

Timbs’ father, Dr. David Timbs, accompanied her as she cast her vote for the first time. “Early voting is so convenient and allows us to exercise our privilege to vote just in case something comes up on Election Day,” said Dr. Timbs. “There really is no reason not to take advantage of the opportunity.”

During the last state primary and county general election in August 2014, Lipford said a total of 5,498 residents cast ballots, with 3,606 voters choosing to take part in absentee and early voting instead of waiting until Election Day. The overall voter turnout for that election was just shy of 50 percent, according to Lipford.

“In order to have your voice heard in this election, you must vote at your polling place on Election Day, August 2, 2018,” said Lipford.”
When heading to the polls, residents must present a federal or Tennessee state ID containing the voter’s name and photograph unless an exemption, such as a hospitalized voter or residents of a licensed nursing home or assisted living center and who vote at the facility, applies.For a complete list of exemptions, visit GoVoteTN.com or call the Johnson County Election Commission at 423-727-8592.

Any of the following IDs may be used, even if expired: Tennessee driver license with your photo, United States Passport, photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, photo ID issued by the federal or Tennessee state government, United States military photo ID, and Tennessee handgun carry permit with your photo.The courthouse lawn is typically the site where the candidates and citizens gather to wait for election results. It has become such a tradition; hundreds converged on the area in 2014.