By Jill Penley
Early voting for the upcoming state primary and county general election kicks off on July 13, and local officials are expecting to see a high turnout at the polls.
“We expect a large turnout for early voting,” Johnson County Administrator of Elections Cheri Lipford said. “There has been a lot of interest in this election.”
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.
With several local races up for grabs, many residents plan to cast ballots during early voting to avoid the lines at the polls on Election Day. Early voting will begin on Friday, July 13 and continue through Saturday, July 28. Hours for the early voting period are Monday 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and then from 8 a.m. until noon on Saturdays.
Early voting will be held at the Johnson County Election Commission Office, which is located at 158 Election Avenue in Mountain City directly behind the Johnson County Rescue Squad.
While early voting is ongoing, the Election Commission Office is a legal polling place, which means the 100-foot boundary on campaign materials is in effect for the office building as well as the parking area. Campaign materials such as signs, hats, t-shirts, buttons, or campaign literature are not allowed within 100 feet of a polling place under state law.