County officials pleased with early-voting turnout

Friday, October 24, 2008
Political signs for U.S. Senate and presidential candidates stand outside the Hardison Annex -- the place for early voting in Marshall County. Early voting runs through Thursday.

Early voting in the Presidential election continues through Thursday.

Including today, Friday, there are only six days left to cast early ballots at the Election Commission office in the Hardison Annex on College Street.

County election officials have six voting machines set up, and plenty of volunteers ready to answer questions.

"It's been a busy early voting and we're proud," said poll worker Becky Stockman.

By 4 p.m. Tuesday, 2,491 people had voted, election officials said. That's more than 400 voting every day, and one day the number was nearly 500.

"Presidential elections always bring a big turn-out," said Elections Administrator Jo Ann Henry.

Nearly 10,000 of the county's 16,000 registered voters cast a ballot in 2004, but Henry declined to speculate on how many might vote in this year's election.

While state and national reports indicate that voter registration has increased in anticipation of the contest between Barack Obama and John McCain, the local elections office administrator explained that the number of registered voters has been staying about the same. After people fail to vote for eight years, their names may be removed from voter registration rolls and the number of registered voters declines. Then, Henry said, as new people register, the number goes back up again.

Purging voter registration records of people who don't participate is legal.

Among those who were voting Wednesday was Harold Daniels, who said that since he's been retired he likes to vote early to avoid the lines on Election Day. The voters waiting in the hall outside the Election Commission office were a mixture of retirees and working people on their lunch break.