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Early voting begins Friday

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By JENNIFER HORTONThe Wilson Post

Exercise your right to express your opinion beginning Friday, July 16 as early voting begins in the Republican and Democratic Primaries and General Election.

“People need to come and vote,” said Lynn Harris, administration of Elections for the Wilson County Election Commission. Early voting runs through Saturday, July 31. Election Day will be Thursday, Aug. 5.

If you wish to cast your ballot early, you may do so from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., Saturday, at the following locations:

• Wilson County Election Commission, 203 East Main Street, Lebanon• Mt. Juliet Community Center, 1075 Charlie Daniels Pkwy., Mt. Juliet• Watertown Community Center, 8630 Sparta Pike, Watertown

There are 67,500 registered voters in Wilson County, Harris said.

The ballot is a lengthy one and includes Governor, State Representative, State Senate, State Executive Committee members for the Republican and Democratic Parties, U.S. Representative, County Mayor, County Commission, County Trustee, Sheriff, Circuit Court Clerk, County Clerk, Wilson County Board of Education, Lebanon Special School District Board of Education, Constable, State Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

“It will take longer to vote,” she said, adding she encouraged everyone to study the sample ballot – it appeared in the June 25 edition of The Wilson Post – so you will be familiar with the names and how they will appear on the voting machine.

“It’s good to have looked at the ballot and have something in your mind” when voting, Harris said. She noted Election Commission workers are preparing for what they hope will be a large turnout.

Although it is a bit difficult to compare since different offices appear on the ballot at different times, but in the Primaries and General Election in July 2008 (Assessor of Property was on the ballot in ’08, it is not on the ballot for this election. Governor was not on the ’08 ballot, either), there were 62,090 registered voters. Early voting, which included votes cast by those who resided in nursing homes, came to 3,125, and with absentee ballots, totaled 3,237. Election Day in August ’08 saw 6,070 people cast ballots.

There were 57,325 registered voters in Wilson County in August 2006. During the early voting period leading up to the August ’06 election, there were 6,499 ballots cast and absentee ballots of 115 for a total of 6,654 votes. On Election Day that year, Aug. 3, 2006, there were 11,996 votes cast, making the total number of votes 18,650. For the Presidential race in November 2008, she said, there were 66,733 registered voters. A total of 26,939 early votes and absentee ballots were cast then, but on Election Day in November, the total number of votes cast was 24,564, the first time early voting numbers outpaced those on Election Day.

Noting the difference between the number of registered voters in November ’08 with 66,733 to July 2010 with 67,500, Harris said, “That’s not much of a difference.”

The deadline to register to vote in the upcoming Aug. 5 Primaries and General Election was July 6. Harris said people came by the Election Commission office that day to register and called it a “more than normal day, but nothing like what it used to be, when we elected all the county officials.”

She noted many, if not most, candidates this time are running in contested races.

Figures for newly registered voters in Wilson County have been on the decline. Harris said since Jan. 1, 2006 there have been 21,867 new registered voters. Since Jan. 1, 2008, there have been 13,942 new voters who registered, and since Jan. 1, 2010, she noted, there have been 2,200 new ones.

From the numbers, she said, it would appear voters “are moving in, and moving out.”

For more information about early voting or voting on Election Day, call the Election Commission at 444-0216.

Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted news@wilsonpost.com.

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