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By DAMON LAWRENCE
The country will pick its 44th president on Nov. 4. Tennessee voters don’t have to wait to make their choice, however. Early voting for the presidential election starts today, Oct. 15.
According to the Roane County Election Commission, there’s more than 36,000 registered voters in Roane County.
Administrator of Elections Tony Brown said turnout for the election could approach 70 percent. He is urging people not to wait until Election Day.
“Please, please, please vote early,” Brown said. “Please.”
Early voting will be held at Rockwood Community Center, Harvey Center in Oliver Springs, Harriman Community Center, Kingston Community Center and the Roane County Courthouse.
The last day to early vote is Oct. 30. Early voting hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
Brown said more than 300 people have already cast ballots. Those include people who voted at assisted-living centers and people who voted by absentee ballot. Brown said his office mailed absentee ballots to far off places such as Iraq, France, Spain and Switzerland.
Tennessee has gone Republican the last two presidential elections, and that’s not likely to change this year. The Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin are expected to carry the state, but Democrats are optimistic that they’ll have a good turnout this election.
“Democrats have a good reason to come out and vote,” said Wade Munday, communications director for the Tennessee Democratic Party. “We’re energized by all of our candidates nationwide and statewide, and we have a reason to get out and vote.”