As of 10 a.m. Thursday morning, the Marion County Auditor's Office had already received 1,508 requests for absentee ballots for the Nov. 8 General Election. This morning is also the first day voters can come to the office to officially cast their ballots, and many have already done so.
"They do make it easy," Kathryn Hickman of Knoxville said. She noticed an ad in the Marion County Reminder, informing voters of the opportunity to vote early. She found voting early to be very convenient.
Marion County Republicans held a breakfast this morning to mark the first day of early voting. For Jim and Brenda Sperr of Knoxville, it was easy for them to enjoy breakfast, then cross the street to cast their ballots.
"I think we're off to a good start," Marion County Auditor Jake Grandia said. "For us, it's that a lot of people want to get it out of the way. Some just want the phone calls to stop."
Yet, other voters are voting early because they are excited to do so. There are no contested races for Marion County offices up for election - including two supervisors' seats, the auditor and the sheriff - but there is much interest in races higher on the ballot.
Grandia said that the usual number of voters coming by the office early is around 100. As Election Day approaches, he believes there will be around 300 a day. He encourages voters, who intend to vote before Nov. 8 either in person or through an absentee ballot, to do so now. The last day an absentee ballot can be mailed will be Friday, Nov. 4. Voters must be registered to vote 10 days prior to the election, or have to wait and go through the Election Day process to register on Nov. 8.
The Auditor's Office will also be open Saturday, Oct. 29, and Saturday, Nov. 5, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. each day, for voters who want to cast an early ballot but cannot during the week.
All 17 precincts in Marion County will have a poll site available on Nov. 8, regardless of the number of ballots cast early.