Fewer than 4% active city voters have voted early, what you need to know

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The upcoming primary will narrow down the list of candidates for Knoxville City Council by three and the field of mayoral candidates by four.

Your chance to weigh-in early wraps up next Thursday.

The primary essentially narrows down the five candidates for City Council At-Large Seat C and the six candidates for Mayor down to two each; however, if one of the six mayoral candidates secures 50% of votes, plus one vote, he or she would automatically become Mayor.

Primary will narrow race for Mayor, At-Large Seat C

At-Large seats A and B, as well as district 5, already have two candidates on the ballot. The race for municipal judge is uncontested.

RELATED: Candidate and voting information

Wednesday morning there was a total of 3,045 early votes and 430 absentee ballots cast. That’s out of nearly 92,000 active registered voters in the city, or just a little more than 3%.

Just over 3% have voted early

Cliff Rodgers, Knox County Administrator of Elections, said “Quite frankly, I don’t get it, especially when we have a open mayor’s race, all of the seats are open, there are no incumbents on this ballot.

“When you look at the mayor’s race, we know that’s what really drives turnout, I don’t understand why they are not interested in the new leadership here in Knoxville and we’re going to have new leadership.”

Knoxville Primary: What you need to know about early voting

While early votes were much higher in the 2011 primary — the last time the city had an open Mayor’s race — Rodgers said it isn’t a fair comparison.

That election included a special state senate race, he said, and more interest was generated from county voters.

Rodgers hopes to see 10,000-15,000 early votes cast. The total number of early votes helps determine how many resources to put out on primary day, Aug. 27.

About 50% vote on election day

Usually, Rodgers said, about 50% of voters will wait for primary election day.

He also explained the advantages of early voting.

For starters, you can vote at any of the five locations open through next Thursday. On Election day, he said, there are 40 polling locations and you have to go to the one you’re assigned.

On Aug. 27, he expects, his staff will spend most of the day redirecting people to their correct locations.

“Please do not wait until election day. Everyone remembers last November, we had horrible storms the night before, power outages,” Rodgers said. “If you like election day drama, well let’s just see what happens Aug. 27th, but if you want to come vote while the weather is absolutely gorgeous, no lines, no drama, early voting is the way to do it,”

He also said if more people voted early, it would cost the taxpayer fewer dollars.

“I have to hire a team to come in to go through all the signature books and all the paperwork from election day and it takes quite some time and a lot of money and resources to do it. people don’t always realize that,” he noted.

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