By Scott Robertson
Either 6,000 or 6,001 Washington Countians exercised their right to vote early in the March 1 election, according to Maybell Stewart, administrator of elections. Early voting ran Feb. 10-23 in Tennessee. The one vote difference is because of a question regarding an absentee ballot.
1,104 ballots were cast in the precincts of the sixth county commission district, the only district with a county commission race. Republican incumbent Dr. Paul Stanton, former president of ETSU, faces a challenge from former Washington County Republican Women President Betty Ziesel. That number is more than twice the average vote count for the other nine commission districts, 544. The sixth district includes three precincts: Courthouse, Visitors Center and New Victory.
Early voting spiked in Washington County in its last two days, with almost half of the votes cast coming on Feb. 22 and 23. There were 1,305 votes cast on Feb. 22 and 1,603 votes cast on Feb. 23.
The 6,000 vote tally far exceeds the 2012 vote count, when 3,681 Washington Countians voted early in a presidential primary race. According to a release from the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office, 383,259 Tennesseans voted early, far outpacing the previous statewide record.