Tennessee Secretary of State Hargett visits Savannah to promote early voting

Masked and gloved poll workers join Hardin County Election Commission Administrator Jeanette Cronise and Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett (third and fourth from left) at the local early voting site.

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett was in Savannah Friday morning, reminding residents that early voting for the Aug. 6 state and federal primary and county general election ends Saturday at noon.
Noting the high early voting turnout statewide so far, Hargett said Tennesseans are recognizing early voting is convenient and that by spreading the turnout over 14 days, helps reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by facilitating social distancing.
Hardin County Election Commission Administrator Jeanette Cronise said that as of about 11 a.m. Friday, a total of 2,288 ballots had been cast, including 238 vote by mail absentee ballots. Eighty absentee ballots remain outstanding.
In the comparable election four years ago, there were 1,634 ballots cast during the entire early voting period in Hardin County, including just 33 absentee ballots, she said.
Hargett and Cronise are encouraging anyone who has received an absentee ballot and not yet mailed it to do so today.
According to the secretary of state, there are still 60,000 absentee ballots out that voters have yet to be received by local election commissions.
The question is not whether county election commissions are prepared to handle the large influx of mail-in ballots, but “is the postal service set up” to deliver those ballots by Election Day, he said.
“Get it in the mail now,” Hargett said.
Voting continues today until 3:30 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.
Due to the pandemic, early in-person voting is held at the wide basement floor hallway of the Hardin County Courthouse instead of in the small adjoining Election Commission office.
The early voting site can be reached by the outside stairs on the west end of the courthouse. Access for the handicapped is via the elevator. Medical experts are urging that elevators be avoided if possible to lessen the spread of COVID-19. A “Health Alert” sign has been posted, cautioning voters not to enter if they have any of the listed symptoms of the disease.
Voters with symptoms or who have tested positive for COVID-19 can park in the spaces behind the courthouse reserved for voters. Call 731-925-3375 and a poll worker will bring a ballot out to you, according to the local election commission.
Both early and election day voters are asked to wear a mask and observe social distancing while voting. To help ensure safe hygiene practices, all voters will receive their own pen and glove, as well as the traditional “I Voted” sticker.
Cronise noted that after early voting closes, the last available chance to cast a ballot is on Election Day at the voter’s assigned precinct.
Voters should expect to see signs with further safety instructions at their polling locations. All poll officials will be wearing face coverings and will be trained to take appropriate protective measures, Cronise added.
Tennesseans voting early or on Election Day should remember to bring valid photo identification to the polls. A driver’s license or photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, by Tennessee state government or by the federal government are acceptable even if they are expired. College student IDs are not acceptable.

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