Early voting falls to half 2014 level

The state Division of Elections website reports today that 281,278 Tennesseans voted early for Thursday’s election – only about half the early vote reported in 2014 and below the 2012 early turnout as well.

The decline likely indicates a simple matter of voters having fewer races of statewide interest on the ballot than in recent past August elections.

Early voting for the Aug. 4 elections ended on Saturday. The reported statewide total includes 178,915 persons voting in Republican primaries versus 89,534 in Democratic primaries.

In 2014, the early vote prior to the August election totaled 564,733 – 354,226 Republicans and 164,939 Democrats.

In that year, of course, the primary ballot included statewide races for governor and the U.S. Senate plus a general statewide retention election for state Supreme Court justices that came with high-spending campaigns both for and against the three incumbent justices. This year there are no statewide primaries and, while three incumbent Supreme Court justices are again on the ballot, there is no organized opposition to giving them new full terms.

In 2012, the total early vote prior to the August elections was 316,686. Unlike this year, there was a U.S. Senate primary on the statewide ballot (Bob Corker’s reelection).