Early voting in Tennessee starts Wednesday, and voters heading to the polls might notice some people inside the voting room watching. This is not abnormal — and they are not random people. In fact, these “poll watchers” have an established role under Tennessee law.
Nearly 450,000 Nashvillians have registered to vote, up from about 340,000 in the last presidential election, and many of them signed up only in the last few months.
Tennessee was ordered to dramatically expand access to absentee voting last month to protect people from the coronavirus. But as early voting begins tomorrow, the state says that first-time voters still must verify their identities in person before requesting a mail-in ballot.
The campaigners in front of Bordeaux Library on Thursday afternoon were vocal and animated, holding signs and shouting candidates’ names to voters walking toward the library. As of Thursday morning, more people had voted here this week than any other early voting location.
Early voting continues to produce lines more than an hour long in some parts of Middle Tennessee. More than 1.1 million people statewide have cast a ballot early.