HUNTSVILLE — More than 5,400 Scott Countians have cast their ballots for the November 3 presidential election, with still two days of early voting remaining.
Tuesday was the second-busiest day of the early voting period thus far, with some 604 voters casting ballots in person at polling locations in Oneida and Huntsville. Another 29 paper ballots were received by the election commission office on Tuesday, bringing the total number of votes cast so far to 5,409.
There are 13,332 active, registered voters in Scott County. The early votes cast so far represent 41% of that total.
There are two factors driving the extraordinarily high early voting turnout: Covid-19 has placed additional emphasis on voting early in person or voting by mail if possible, and the heated race between President Donald Trump and Democrat challenger Joe Biden is expected to draw the highest voter turnout in a U.S. presidential election in more than 100 years.
As of Tuesday, there had been 4,894 votes cast in person during the early voting period, while another 515 paper ballots had been cast. The paper ballots included 17 votes from nursing home residents and 498 absentee ballots cast by mail.
In the 2016 presidential race, there were 7,123 votes cast for president in Scott County. That year, Trump defeated Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton with 85% of the vote here — the second-highest total of any county in Tennessee.
It isn’t just the presidential race on the ballot in Scott County. There are municipal elections in both Huntsville and Winfield. In Huntsville, incumbent mayor Dennis Jeffers is being opposed by former mayor George Potter, whom Jeffers defeated in 2016. In Winfield, incumbent mayor Opal Anderson is opposed by Jerry Dodson and current vice mayor Chad Jones.
There are also alderman seats up for grabs in both towns. In Huntsville, incumbents Paul E. Lay, Jaimi Lloyd and Jim Morrow are opposed by Steven Asberry, Nathan Daggs and Jackson Sharp. At least one new alderman will be elected. In Winfield, where two aldermen will be elected, incumbents Donald “Dick” Sexton and Bob Strunk are opposed by Jessica Shinkle and Doug Wilson Jr.
Also on the ballot are state and federal races, including the battle to replace Lamar Alexander, R, in the U.S. Senate. Bill Hagerty won the Republican nomination and is replaced by Democrat nominee Marquita Bradshaw. In the 3rd Congressional District, incumbent U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann, R-Chattanooga, is opposed by Democrat nominee Meg Gorman. In the 12th State House District, incumbent Kelly Keisling, R-Byrdstown, is opposed by Democrat nominee Carol Abney. In the 12th Senatorial District, incumbent Ken Yager, R-Kingston, is unopposed.
Early voting continues from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both Wednesday and Thursday at the Scott County Office Building in Huntsville and the Oneida Municipal Services Building. Registered voters with Scott County addresses can cast ballots at either location, regardless of their address. Polls will be open in each of Scott County’s voting precincts from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3.