Voters turn out for last day of early voting in Tennessee despite relatively low turnout

Posted at 4:39 PM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 21:58:52-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tuesday marks the last day for early voting in Tennessee, before the March 3 Presidential Preference Primary.

At the Hermitage Public Library, around lunch time, cars lined up just to get into the library's parking lot. Many voters were forced to park in the grass or on the curb. Inside the building, the line stretched the length of the library. It was so crowded, many turned around and decided to just wait until Election Day.

Overall, turnout for early voting has been fairly underwhelming in Tennessee. As of Tuesday morning, only 6% of registered voters had already cast their ballots, but that number will rise when the final day totals are posted online.

"If the Democrats were looking for a large turnout here to show their voters are well motivated and ready to go, they have less voters coming out than the Republicans do," said NewsChannel 5's Political Analyst Pat Nolan.

Tennessee isn't the only state seeing an average to low voter turnout. Nolan pointed out that lack of enthusiasm goes against the word of the new Democratic front runner, Bernie Sanders, who promised he would bring in voters that don't typically participate.

"Well we haven’t seen that yet. Perhaps Super Tuesday will be the biggest test," said Nolan.

Whether he excites the masses for the primary or not, Nolan believes Sanders is certainly on the path to clinching the nomination if he wins big on Super Tuesday.

"Yogi Berra used to say, it’s going to get late early this year. It’s going to get late early, because we’ll now have more than a third of the delegates selected after Super Tuesday," he said.

Perhaps, the biggest takeaway from Tennessee's early voter totals is that more Republicans have voted in a noncompetitive primary than Democrats. Meaning, in November, there's so sign of change at least here in Tennessee.

"I think that says for November what we all suspected. Donald Trump is very strong here and Tennessee will remain a deep red state," says Nolan.

That being said, Tennessee is getting more attention from the Presidential candidates this year. Several candidates have started to flood our airwaves. Michael Bloomberg is making a campaign stop in Clarksville Friday along with two other Tennessee cities.

We'll just have to see if that late push makes any big difference.

Election Day for the Tennessee Presidential Preference Primary is March 3.