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Hours extended in Washington County to accommodate voters in general election

Voters taking part in the Nov. 6 general election will have an extra hour to cast their ballots in Washington County.
At their Sept. 7 meeting, members of the Washington County Election Commission unanimously approved a plan to open the polls an hour earlier than usual on Election Day.
They also agreed to extend early voting by one hour in an effort to give more people the chance to participate.
Election Commission member Leslie Lacy made the suggestion to open polling locations at 7 a.m. instead of 8 a.m. on Election Day
“Opening at 8 o’clock, you have so many people lined up wanting to get it done before they go to work,” Lacy said. “Then, between 7-8 at night, it’s pretty much dead.”
The group initially considered closing polls an hour earlier as well, but because it is a General Election, polls are required to remain open until 8 p.m.
During early voting, which runs Oct. 17 through Nov. 1, three locations will be open to voters from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on week days. In the past, polls closed at 5 p.m.
“In working it four years ago, at 5 o’clock, we still had lines out the door,” Lacy said.
Early voting locations will also be open from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 27.
“We’ve got to accommodate the people. This is a big election,” said Sue Chinouth, Election Commission member. “I think we’ll have more than we anticipated voting this time.”
According to Maybell Stewart, administrator of elections for Washington County, leaders in Nashville are predicting 75 percent of registered voters in the state will vote in the election.
“I think that’s a little bit optimistic,” said Jon Ruetz, Election Commission member. “Even so, if we wind up with 60 percent, it’d keep us pretty darn busy.”
Stewart said she expects turnout in Washington County to be closer to 60 percent than to the state capitol’s prediction of 75 percent.
Residents have until Monday, Oct. 8, to register to vote if they are not already registered. For more information about voting in the General Election, visit www.wceoffice.com.