NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Early voting numbers in Tennessee have surpassed the one million mark.
Tennesseans have been voting in record numbers since early voting began on October 17. Nearly 350,000 ballots were cast in the first three days. As of Tuesday, 1,062,596 had voted early.
The numbers are nearly three times higher than during the 2014 midterm elections, and are just below turnout for the 2016 presidential election.
The election includes a high-profile senate race between U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen to replace retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker.
In the governor’s race, polls show businessman Bill Lee with a lead over Democratic former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean in the race to succeed term-limited GOP Gov. Bill Haslam.
Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett said he believed competitive races are driving voters to the polls.
“I think both sides seem to be energized and that turns people out,” said Hargett. “Candidates and their message is what energizes people.”
In an effort to get young voters to the polls, the Mayor’s Youth Council hosted a Rock the Vote Halloween Block Party outside the Howard Office Building. The group has helped 3,000 young people register to vote over the last 10 months. At the event they had information on the candidates on the ballot, and encouraged participants to vote early at the Howard Office Building.
Mayor David Briley and Waffle House shooting hero James Shaw, Jr. addressed the crowd.
Voters can cast their ballots early through Nov. 1. Secretary of State Hargett predicted there would be a spike in voters on the last day of early voting. He recommended voters try and vote during a non-peak time, and review the ballot before arriving.
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. View county-by-county totals here.