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Submit Absentee Voting Application By July 30

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

The number of people requesting absentee ballots for the August election has held fairly steady in Overton County but has been much higher in Putnam County.

That’s despite rule changes giving those uncomfortable with voting in person because of COVID-19 the chance to vote absentee. Overton County Elections Supervisor Craig Story said he expects the requests to be more in November.

“We’re not seeing a whole lot of increases going on because of it in the absentee ballots. There is going to be some that I assume will happen. For us in particular, the August election is probably not going to have the turnout that the fall election is going to have for the presidential [election].”

Putnam Absentee Registrar Jennifer Murphy said it’s better to submit the application sooner rather than later.

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that it will not block a judge’s order offering a by-mail voting option to all eligible voters during the pandemic.

Murphy said the last day to send an absentee ballot is July 30.

“We do want everyone to do it much sooner than that, because that is only seven days before the election,” Murphy said. “I do have to have the time to mail you a ballot and for you to mail the ballot back.”

Thus far the office has mailed over 600 ballots to Putnam County residents. Murphy said that’s double the usual amount for an August election.

“We have prepared in the best way that we can,” Murphy said. “We are presorting the ballots to kinda ease the tension on the counting boards and things like that. So we have done as much as we can to prepare for a larger amount of ballots, so we are pretty confident that we are going to be just fine.”

Murphy said some qualifying factors include being a voter over 60, a military member, or having a disability.

“[It’s] not for everyone,” Murphy said. “You do have the ‘valid reason,’ which is on our form and it’s on our website. You just choose whichever valid reason applies to you and then turn in the request form to us.”

Other qualifications include being a caretaker of someone hospitalized, an enrolled full-time student, or if you’re serving as a jury member.

Murphy said if you registered by mail only, you must vote in person the first time unless you come into the office with an ID.

The election is August 6.


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