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Early voting a hit with Sullivan County electorate


It could be the myriad of contested races — be it national, state and local.

Maybe it’s all the political ads that run ceaselessly on television.

A likely scenario could be people just like the idea of not of having to deal with large crowds, or in this part of the county, possibly the weather on election day.

But for whatever reason — all of the above or any combination — early voting turnout in Sullivan County has been quite robust in its first eight days. 

“In the (clerk’s) office so far, we have had 499 people,” Sullivan County Clerk Peggy Goodman reported by telephone with one hour remaining in early voting on Friday afternoon.

“I haven’t ran (reports) as far as past (elections), but I just know this early in the election cycle, I don’t believe we’ve had 500 this early,” she added. “I mean 499, but we’ll probably hit 500 by the end of the day.”

Goodman proved prophetic, reporting by text on Sunday that the final tally as of 4 p.m. Friday was 502 votes cast already out of the 13,802 registered voters in the county. 

“We’ve had over 50 (voters) every day,” she said. “Some days have been 74, 67 … very high turnout if you ask me.” 

Asked if there had been long lines, Goodman replied in the affirmative, “We have actually. It’s nothing to see two or three people (waiting), but we’ve had six, eight, 10.”

The clerk also reported her office has processed requests by 463 voters to vote by mail, 12 requests are ready to go out by travel board plus one by email, which is only for military or overseas voters.

There are still several opportunities to vote early in the next two weeks, including the next two Saturdays.

Upcoming early voting times at the clerk’s office in the courthouse:

• Today through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.

• Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Saturday, Nov. 3, 8 a.m. to noon.

• Monday, Nov. 5, 8 a.m. to noon.

Goodman did say voting early takes just a little bit longer than on election day.

“We get them through really quick, but people need to understand it’s not as simple a process as when you go to the polls … you just sign the poll book and then go vote,” she said. “Here, there’s forms that have to be printed and signed, so it’s not as smooth as when they went to the polls. But the girls have got it down pretty good.” 

The traditional vote-at-the-polling-locations is Nov. 6 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Also, a reminder directed to the many candidates. The end of the pre-election campaign finance reporting period was Oct. 12, while the deadline to file your pre-election campaign finance reports was at noon Friday.

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