Jokes about the long lines greeted voters as they entered the center, but the quips had some truth — voting official Nancy King said she and the other officials had been hard at work since early voting began on Wednesday. King is a veteran official, she’s been doing the job on and off since she was old enough to vote. King said that so far, the turnout for this election seems higher than usual for midterm elections.
By shortly after 2 p.m. Monday, the Princeton Art Center had recorded more than 350 votes, with more than two hours to go. Since voting opened on Wednesday, King said Johnson City voters have cast more than 8,000 ballots.
“That is extremely good for midterm election in Tennessee,” King said. “I think it’s the fact that there are more ads saying ‘We need people to register to vote, it’s important, yes your vote counts,’ and it does. One person can make a big difference.”
What the voters said:
• East Tennessee State University student Will Beaudry waited to vote in his first midterm election Monday afternoon. Beaudry, a computer science student, said he’s voted in presidential and local elections, but said the importance of this election brought him out.
He said the close race between former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn brought him to the polls, a race that will determine the makeup of the Senate. A few other key issues brought him out Monday, too.
“Climate change is a big issue for me and a lot of people in younger generations,” he noted. “Another big issue for the younger generation is net neutrality, the freedom of access to the internet, because a lot of our generation is technology-based.
“I see a lot more young people coming out to vote than in the past, which is a good sign. It’s just nice to see people vote.”
• Voter Joe Armstrong also voted in his first midterm election on Monday, citing the close Senate race as an initiative.
More than that, he said he was happy to see such a long line for early voting.
“I feel like the system only works if people are involved, and so regardless of who (people) are voting for, I think the high turnout is a good sign.”
• Jeana Gregory said she’s only missed one election since she was 18 years old, but Monday was her first time early voting. She came out with a friend to cast their votes before Election Day.
“For us, midterms are the elections for our governor and our Congress, I always vote in them because it’s important for our state,” she said. “I have always heard that you don’t have the right to complain about it if you didn’t go out and speak your mind about it (by voting). That’s why I’ve always voted.
“I just things have gotten a little out of control in Washington, and I think we need some regular people to settle it down.”
|Where can you vote early?
||100 E. Main St., Jonesborough
|Princeton Art Center
||2516 E. Oakland Ave., Johnson City
|Gray Fire Station
||106 Gray Commons Circle, Gray
Early voting hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through and 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday. Nov. 1 is the last day of early voting. Election Day is Nov. 6.