180 opt to take advantage of early voting

Friday, October 15, 2010
Charlie Boyd, a retired wildlife resources area supervisor, drums up votes for his candidate and explains the referendum on hunting and fishing that appears on the election ballot.

Tennessee voters are being asked to decide a referendum question on the Nov. 2 election ballot, as well as select a governor, congressman, and state lawmakers.

As 108 of Marshall County's 17,448 registered voters were casting ballots on Wednesday -- the first day of early voting -- a retired employee of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency explained the referendum.

"Now, hunting is a privilege," Charlie Boyd said in front of the Election Commission Office in the Hardison Office Annex. "The referendum would make it a right."

Half a dozen other states changed it, Boyd said.

If it's a privilege, officials might be able to ban hunting, he continued. He sees no value in that, noting such a decision would curtail commerce in gun sales, and fewer fishing trips, thereby hurting the economy.

"But there are some places like California," he said. "You don't know what they're going to do."

Meanwhile, J.T. Hargrove, 76, of Lewisburg refrained from naming the candidate he likes but described him as "a guy who I trust to do the right thing.'

Early voting is "the best thing to ever happen," said Artie Allen, who reported that his brother, Dan Allen, was the first to vote early on Wednesday.

Also voting early on Wednesday was Wesley Huntley who said the referendum would not end the requirement to have state licenses to hunt and fish.

Pat Stewart of Chapel Hill "was a little surprised that it was something to be voted on... Hunting and fishing has been a basic right of settlers and others ever since we've been here."

However, the right to hunt does not mean people can have any kind of firearm they want, he continued.

The soldiers came home with the arms," Stewart said. "However, they did not come home with a cannon."

Early voting is available 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through Oct. 28, a Thursday. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 2.