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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Early voting record set in county

Friday, October 31, 2008

Bedford County smashed its previous record early voting turnout by almost 50 percent, with 8,464 votes cast during the early voting period that ended Thursday, according to Administrator of Elections Summer Leverette.

The previous record was 5,709, set during the last presidential election in 2004. This year's new record represents more than a 48 percent increase.

Leverette is expecting a heavy turnout on Tuesday, Election Day, as well, and has increased staffing at many precincts in anticipation.

The total voter turnout -- early plus election day -- was 13,622 in the 2004 presidential election and 13,144 in 2000.

In addition to the presidential election, the ballot includes U.S. Senate, U.S. House, State Senate and State House races, as well as a Third District county commission seat and city elections in Shelbyville, Wartrace and Normandy.

This is the first year in which Shelbyville voters have voted only for the city council race for their individual ward. In the past, such races were voted citywide, even though the candidate had to live in a particular ward he sought to represent.

The county was in line with a record early voting turnout statewide.

Turnout through Wednesday was 1.38 million -- about a quarter-million more voters than the previous early voting record set in the 2004 presidential election.

State Election Coordinator Brook Thompson estimated that the final statewide total for early voting would be about 1.5 million people.

Early voting saw its biggest increase in West Tennessee, where early voter turnout was already 34 percent higher than it was in 2004. Middle Tennessee was next with a 25 percent jump, followed by the eastern division of the state with 13 percent.

Thompson projects that overall turnout will easily exceed the 2.45 million who voted in 2004. There are nearly 4 million registered voters in Tennessee this year, including more than 360,000 -- or 9 percent -- who have registered for the first time this year.

Thompson said county election officials are prepared for an onslaught of voters on Tuesday.

Early voting began in Tennessee in 1994.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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