By Lacy Hilliard
Tomahawk Writer, Photographer
Early voters in Tennessee turned out in near record numbers this year, missing the mark by about 59,000 votes and defeated only by the 2008 Presidential election.
In Johnson County, the election commission reports that 3,816 voters have already cast their ballots. The numbers of people voting early in the 2008 election in Johnson County was 4,191. Many election officials feel that had Hurricane Sandy not been a factor, this years Presidential election would have broken the 2008 record both locally and statewide. The impact of Hurricane Sandy, which was devastated a large portion of the Northeastern coastline, and caused a rift in various parts of Tennessee with power outages and snowfall. Though the voter turnout becomes public record immediately, the actual results of early voting are unknown until the final tally is counted beginning at 8:01 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6.
It is a common misconception that the local election commission knows the results of early voting before the knowledge is made public. However, like the public, only the voter tallies are known to the election commission prior to Election Day. Only after the polls close on November 6, will the local, state, and national results be determined under strict federal regulations.
New to the Tennessee polls this year are voter identification laws. The law states that registered voters in Tennessee must present a government issued photo id before casting their ballot. The acceptable forms of identification include a Tennessee drivers license with a photo (current or expired), a drivers license issued by another state (current or expired), a U.S. passport, a Federal employee ID with photo, a State employee ID with photo (including those issued by state universities), a U.S. military ID, or a Gun permit card with a photo. The State of Tennessee is not alone in the addition of voter identification laws; about half of the United States has enacted some form of voter identification requirements with many other states pending approval.
The 2012 Presidential/General Election will include the following democratic and republican candidates and the offices theyre running for; For the Presidential seat- Mitt Romney (R) and Barack Obama (D); United States Senate- Bob Corker (R) and Mark E. Clayton (D); United States House- Phil Roe (R) and Alan Woodruff (D).
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