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Early voting begins July 18

By Paula Walter
Early voting for the Tennessee State primary and general county election begins on July 18, 2014 and runs through August 2, 2014. Election Day is August 7, 2014. “This is a very long ballot,” said Johnson County Election Commissioner, Mike Long. “There are 74 running in Johnson County. There will be 32 winners and 42 losers.” The Johnson County Election Commission office is the only location where voters may cast their ballots during the early voting time period.
According to Long, there are approximately 11,200 voters in the county, but this number changes daily due to deaths, felons in the prison system and new voter registrations. Half of the voting that occurs in the county is done by those casting early ballots. Every voter who shows up in person during early voting and on Election Day must present a photo identification issued by either the federal government or by the State of Tennessee. Identification may be current or expired. Examples include your Tennessee driver’s license with a picture, a Tennessee Department of Safety photo identification, a Tennessee gun permit with a picture, a United States military photo I.D., a United States passport or any other photo identification issued by either the federal or Tennessee state government. College student and photo IDs issued by cities, counties or other states will not be accepted at the voting location.
However, you are exempt from providing a photo identification if you vote absentee by mail, you live in a licensed nursing home or an assisted living center and are able to vote on-site, if you are in the hospital or religiously opposed to being photographed or if you are unable financially to afford the expense of a photo ID.
Long answers to a team of five county commissioners, three Republicans and two Democrats that are appointed by Tennessee’s House of Representatives, and the State Senate oversees the voting process in Johnson County during the election. On Election Day, there are approximately 110 people situated at each of the polls, a mix of party affiliations, to ensure the day goes smoothly. In the days leading up to the election, five technicians set up the voting machines. They are also from different political parties. There is also a counting board that again is made up of a cross section of Republicans and Democrats. There is also a team of four, again a cross mix of party affiliation, that ventures to the nursing home for those who can vote. “It cost approximately $25,000 to have an election,” Long said. Everyone who works the polls, from those at the voting locations to technicans, are paid.
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