Today is election day. So is tomorrow, and the day after that. While Nov. 3 is officially Election Day this year, early voting began Wednesday in Tennessee. Locally, that’s taking place at the offices of the Greene County Election Commission at 311 CCU Blvd.
As Eugenia Estes reported in the Tuesday edition of The Greeneville Sun, the Election Commission is open for early voting 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 29.
The Election Commission is doing its part to make in-person voting safe during the coronavirus pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 214,000 of our fellow Americans, including 48 Greene Countians. Those safety measures include markers directing voters where to stand to maintain the recommended 6 feet of distance from one another, with voting machines also placed that far apart; plastic shields to separate voters and election workers, who will be wearing personal protective equipment; bags containing pens and gloves to be given out to voters; and hand sanitizer available in the lobby.
For voters who prefer to cast their ballots by mail and meet the state’s criteria — which this year include, as Estes wrote, “persons who have underlying medical or health conditions which in their determination render them more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 or at greater risk should they contract it” — absentee, mail-in ballots can be requested through Oct. 27. It’s best to request them earlier, since they must be received at the Election Commission by the time polls close on Nov. 3 and election officials expect more ballots to be cast by mail this year due to COVID-19.
All elections are important, and this year is no different. In Greene County, we’re casting our ballots for president, a U.S. senator and the 1st District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Tusculum residents are also electing town board members.
Not all elections are held during a pandemic, which makes this one very different. So let’s treat it that way. If you’re voting by mail, get your ballot in as early as possible. If voting in person, during early voting or on Election Day, please do your part to make it a safe experience for yourself and your fellow citizens: mask up, keep your distance, make your choices.
For more information on voting this year, to download an absentee ballot request form or to track an absentee ballot, go online to govotetn.gov .