Tennesseans Shatter Early Voting Record

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A record number of Tennesseans chose to vote early for the March 1 presidential preference primary, or "SEC Primary," when six other Southern states will join Tennessee to decide who could be the next president of the United States.

385,653 people voted early or cast absentee ballots, which is now the largest number for a presidential preference primary in state history. That easily bested 2008's early voting record of 329,154 votes.

"We're encouraging people to be informed and educated voters and be ready to go behind the curtain and go vote once they get there," Secretary of State Tre Hargett told reporters at the Capitol Wednesday.

The Volunteer State is playing an extremely important role this election cycle, which could mean more primary interest than in years past.

On average, between 25 and 30 percent of Tennesseans vote early in presidential preference primaries. That means turn out on March 1 could easily hit one million or more.

The number of presidential candidates as well as the number of delegates could create incredibly long ballots for some voters.

The easiest way for voters to find their early voting and Election Day polling locations, view and mark sample ballots, see their elected officials, districts and county election commission information as well as access online election results is through the GoVoteTN app. Voters can download the free app in the App Store or Google Play to view voter specific information.

"We have a sample ballot there. People can look at it in advance and they can choose their candidates," Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins said. "We expect a big turnout, which is great. We want the increased enthusiasm, but at the same time we want to make sure everyone's prepared."

State law allows voters to use the GoVoteTN app to assist them to vote while casting their ballots.

Tennesseans voting on Election Day should remember to bring valid photo identification. A driver's license or photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security as well as photo IDs issued by Tennessee state government or the federal government are acceptable even if they are expired. College student IDs are not acceptable.

Contact information for election offices can be found here: County Election Commissions.

More information about what types of ID are acceptable can be found here: What ID is required when voting? or by calling the Division of Elections toll free at 1-877-850-4959.