Early voting for the March 3 Presidential Preference and Sumner County Primary elections started Wednesday and runs through Feb. 25.
With just one unopposed county race on the ballot and a largely uncontested Republican presidential primary, turnout could be light.
Sumner County Administrator of Elections Lori Atchley says turnout will depend largely on whether or not Democrats, whose presidential candidate is still undecided, flock to the polls to make their preference known.
“Historically, turn out has never been much over that 30 percent mark here for a presidential primary,” Atchley noted. “However, the Secretary of State’s office has been doing a phenomenal job of encouraging people to vote in all elections.”
In 2016, 32 percent of Sumner County voters turned out for the Presidential Preference and Sumner County primary. That ballot included two contested local races - Sumner County Assessor of Property and Register of Deeds – as well as an uncontested race for General Sessions Court judge.
In that election, 26,337 voted in the Republican primary while 6,586 voted in the Democratic primary.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump won Sumner County with 36.86 percent in 2016 while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz came in second with 28.8 percent. Former U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took the Democratic nomination in Sumner with 64 percent of the vote while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders garnered 34 percent.
The only Sumner County office on the March 3 ballot is that of Sumner County Assessor of Property. Republican John Isbell, who was first elected in 2004, is running unopposed.
On the presidential preference ballot, Trump is again seeking the Republican nomination. He’s running against former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld. Former U. S. Rep. Joe Walsh, who dropped out of the race last week, is also on the ballot.
Candidates seeking the Democratic party’s nomination include former U. S. President Joe Biden; former New York Gov. Michael Bloomberg; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet; Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard; Hedge fund manager Tom Steyer; former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and New York businessman Andrew Young.
Self-help author Marianne Williamson; New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker; former U. S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro, and former U. S. Rep. John Delaney are listed on the ballot, but have since dropped out of the race.
Tennessee is one of 14 states holding presidential primaries on March 3, also known as Super Tuesday.
Atchley reminds those who do plan to vote early that there are two new locations in Hendersonville and Gallatin.
The Sumner County Administration Building will not be open for early voting, Atchley added.
Polls are located at Freedom Church in Gallatin and Hendersonville Church of Christ in Hendersonville. The Gallatin location will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. while the Hendersonville early voting site will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Feb. 25.
Early voting sites also include the Portland Community Center (from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Feb. 14); Church of the Nazarene in Goodlettsville (from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Feb. 17); White House City Hall (from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Feb. 24); and “Old” Westmoreland Elementary School (from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Feb. 25).
Sumner County voters can vote at any early voting location within the county. However on Election Day, March 3, voters must cast ballots at their designated precincts.
For more information about early voting or elections in Sumner County, go to the Sumner County Election Office website at www. votesumnertn.org.