Polls open 7 a.m.- 7 p.m.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

Marshall County voters will elect a judge, an assessor and a member of the school board on Thursday when balloting is expected to be heavy.

County Attorney Bill Haywood is challenging Judge Lee Bussart Bowles for the two years left in former Judge Steve Bowden's term. Billy Lanier, Shirley Lowe and Michelle Griffy Campbell are campaigning to be property assessor. In District 7, school board member Ann Tears is being challenged by Susan Hunter.

Results will be posted on the Marshall County Tribune's Web site, marshalltribune.com, as soon as they're available. That depends on how quickly election poll officials deliver results to the election office in the Hardison Office Annex on College Street in Lewisburg.

The number of people who have voted early in the county's general elections - as well as the political parties' primaries for nominees for state and federal legislative races - has far outpaced the number of people who voted four years ago.

Only 1,096 people voted in the 2008 county election. On Saturday, when early voting ended at noon, there were 2,606 early and absentee people who cast ballots in those races, County Elections Administrator Tristan Arnold said Monday.

In other words, Arnold said, "Two and a half times the number of people who voted in the election of '08 have already voted" in this year's August race.

"But keep in mind," Arnold cautioned, "we didn't have a contested assessor's race, or a judge's race, so it might not be a good comparison."

Another factor that could account for increased interest in Thursday's election are the political parties' primaries in the newly created district for the state House.

Two primary races are being held to select a candidate to run in the November state election.

Candidates running for the Republican nomination are Billy Spivey, Travis Monroe, Ann Bankston and Larry Taft.

Candidates running for the Democratic Party nomination are Mary Rene Baxter, Vicki Cain and Anita Tipton.

Meanwhile, more people are voting early all across the state.

"In Tennessee as a whole," Arnold said, "there were 206,174 voters who cast ballots early in 2008, and this year 326,876 voted early.

"So, early voting us up across the state," she said.

Nevertheless, she does not anticipate any waiting at the various precincts across the county.

That's because, "We have adequately planned for the election to manage the flow of voters."

If there is a line, state law says that anybody who claims that they have trouble standing in line may request that they be moved to the front of the line.

"I don't anticipate that being a problem now," Arnold said.

To be eligible for permission to move ahead of other voters in line the voter must be "visibly disabled, or who is visibly pregnant or frail," Arnold said.