KNOXVILLE (WATE) – In the past week voters have turned out in big numbers for early voting in Knox County.
By Wednesday night, nearly 50,000 ballots had been cast across the county.
Across Tennessee, state officials are also reporting strong turnout. As of Wednesday, there have been 605,000 early votes cast across the state.
Early voting totals in the state are set to surpass those during the last presidential election of 2008.
"I wasn't really expecting this many people. I thought people were going to be like last election and wait until last minute to put it in," said Alicia Gentry, of Friendsville.
Gentry was just one of many Blount County residents casting an early vote Thursday morning. She was one of 12,855 early voters turned out countywide, through seven days of early voting.
By that time in 2008, 11,642 had voted early in Blount County.
"They're more enthused about a reason to vote. Things are not really good," said James Orr, a Maryville resident.
Many are pointing to a struggling economy as one reason for high early voter turnout.
"I believe the economy will drive people to the polls, more than they ever had," said J.B. Matthews, chairman of the Sevier County Election Commission.
Election officials in Sevier County are also reporting record early voting numbers. As of Thursday, there have been 6,321 early votes in the county. That's equivalent to 130 voters each hour.
There's also a liquor by the drink vote in Pigeon Forge, which is getting a lot of attention from voters.
"It's wrong for Pigeon Forge. This is a family setting and we just don't need it," said Connie Ball, Sevierville resident.
Although, a majority of Tennessee voters will likely vote Republican, various polls show President Obama and Governor Romney in a virtual tie nationwide, a factor which officials say will bring more voters to the poll.
"I think it will be a bigger turnout because it's a close election," said Matthews.