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Early voting sets record

By Richard Rourk

Unicoi County has seen more voters than ever before cast their ballots during the early voting period.

“Turnout has been record-breaking,” Unicoi County Elections Administrator Sarah Fain said. “We voted 633 on the first day, which was our highest single day ever. In the 2016 Presidential election, we had 4,827 people vote early and absentee and we will surpass that amount today and will continue early voting until Thursday, Oct. 29. This week’s hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.”

Unicoi County is breaking mail-in ballot voting records as well.

“We have received requests for mail-in ballots from 483 people and 407 have already mailed them back in,” Fain said.

Unlike other precincts in the region, Unicoi County has managed to keep lines at a minimum thanks to cooperation from all involved.

“Voters have been extremely complimentary about how quickly we can process voters, even when we do have a line,” Fain said. “So far no one has waited more than about 15-20 minutes.”

For those not planning on voting  until election day next week, you may want to be prepared before you go to the polls. “If you are planning to vote on Nov. 3, you must vote at the precinct where you are registered,” Fain said. “You can check that as well as your voter status at https://tnmap.tn.gov/voterlookup/. Bring your Tennessee or federally-issued photo ID. We request that you please wear a mask for the protection of our workers and other voters.”

According to Fain, this year’s election has been very successful despite a pandemic.

“Overall, I’m so pleased with how well our election officials and voters have adjusted to the COVID precautions, including wearing a mask and social distancing,” she added.