10,982 votes and counting

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, November 3, 2012

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For the first time ever in Wise County, early voting totals have reached five figures.

Elections Administrator Lannie Noble said Friday afternoon that 10,982 people voted early in this year’s Nov. 6 general election. That included a single-day record of 1,564 Friday.

Wise County broke the previous early voting record of 8,517 on Wednesday.

Numerous early voting records fell this year, including the most votes in one day (a record that was broken twice, actually), most early votes in the first five days of early voting (5,382) and most votes on the first day of early voting (985).

For the first time in a presidential general election, more than one regular early voting location was provided for residents. The Rhome City Hall location tallied 2,312 votes, and 1,888 voted at the Bridgeport Law Enforcement Center. Voting at the Decatur Civic Center, where early voting has traditionally been held, totaled 6,160 for the two-week period. Another 622 voted at Walmart last Saturday.

Rhome city secretary Ramah Burns said the city saw people from all over Wise County come in to vote, particularly residents from the Rhome, Boyd, Paradise, Newark and Bridgeport areas.

“It’s been nonstop,” Burns said. “It’s flowed well. There have been no problems.”

At 10 minutes until 5 p.m. and the close of polls Friday, the line at the Decatur Civic Center stretched into the hallway and out the door.

When the line reached the door of the room where voting was taking place, the polls officially closed, although several people showed up after the door was shut.

“The radio said polls were open statewide until 7 p.m.,” one clearly-agitated would-be voter said to Elections Administrator Lannie Noble.

Noble explained that only counties with populations over 100,000 are required to have 12-hour voting days during early voting.

Despite having to break the bad news to a handful of voters who didn’t make it to the polls in time, Noble said early voting was clearly a success.

“I think we served the voters of Wise County very well, and the numbers back that up,” he said. “We had almost 11,000 voters in early voting. By my recollection is the most that have ever voted early in Wise County.”

He complimented the cities and everyone involved in the voting locations in Rhome and Bridgeport.

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