Tennesseans eagerly headed to the polls Wednesday on the first day of early voting, with Nashville alone reporting nearly 13,000 ballots cast and long lines observed at sites across the state.
Election officials in Davidson County said turnout had surpassed the first day of voting in 2016 by mid-afternoon. It comes after Nashville experienced a 30% rise in registered voters, and even though absentee balloting is expected to surge.
But some voters say they’ve been alarmed by questions raised about voting by mail, so they decided to vote in person. Anne Brooks, 62, has been casting ballots since she was first eligible. She waited in line at the Southeast Library for two hours to make sure her voice was heard.
“This is the first time I’ve ever been concerned that my vote may not be counted. So I’m concerned, very concerned.”
Brooks says the experience went smoothly and now she’s encouraging her entire family to create a voting plan that works for them.
High turnout was also observed from East Tennessee to Memphis.
If you don’t think people are fired up to vote, check this out. This is in Chattanooga. #Tennessee is ranked 49th in voter turnout and Hamilton County is usually one of the worst in the state. #2020Election #VOTE pic.twitter.com/Zxju9PRB3h
— AsherWhites (@AsherWhites) October 14, 2020
— Alex Corradetti (@AlexCorradetti) October 14, 2020
— Brad Broders (@Local24Brad) October 14, 2020
Social distancing protocols also contributed to the long lines, which snaked outside many polling sites. Election coordinator Jeff Roberts says Davidson County has added new machines in hopes of shortening wait times, as well as adding more poll workers.
Early voting will take place in more than a dozen Nashville polling places every day except Sundays through Oct. 29. Election Day is Nov. 3.