Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Early voting turnout low around the state

That's what they're saying in Hamilton County. Just over 8000 took advantage of the opportunity. Low turnout in Knox County also seemed to be on the minds of the editors of the Knoxville News Sentinel as they wrote in yesterday's editorial about the last chance to vote early. In Madison County (Jackson), just under 3000 people had voted early. As of Wednesday, fewer than 1500 had voted in Putnam County (Cookeville). Fewer than 2700 had voted in Rutherford County by the same date. There was a "spike" in early voting in Shelby County on Wednesday, but only 3.5 percent of the county's voters had turned out by the end of the day Wednesday.

When I voted in Davidson County on Thursday, there were more people holding signs for candidates than there were voters.

The reason typically cited is the lack of hotly contested county-wide races around the state. One certainly cannot blame the candidates. In Davidson County, the school board candidates have worked hard at getting their message out. And I think the same is true in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. With many incumbents not seeking reelection in the Legislature, there were more than the usual number of competitive Republican and Democratic primaries--Rutherford County being a prime example. The Democratic primary in the 9th congressional district has also been lively.

But I think the media is ignoring its own lack of coverage of the election as part of the problem. Part of citizenship is finding out for yourself what is at stake in an election. But that's also the responsibility of the media, particularly the leading the newspapers in the state.

1 comment:

Jonathan in Memphis said...

Tennessee spends a lot of money on early voting in the state, but what is the result? Roughly the same number of people vote as compared to election day. If we're going to spend that much money on elections, shouldn't increased participation be the outcome?

I wish we could adopt a mail-in ballot system like Oregon. We would not have to open multiple polling locations, recruit temporary staff, or buy Diebold machines that are open to manipulation.