Metro candidates consider early voting crucial to eventual victory

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 10:05pm

With early voting for Metro’s general election beginning Friday, candidates will soon shift to get-out-the-vote mode, recognizing the two-week period that runs through July 30 is just as crucial to victory as Election Day itself.

“The early voting period has become as important, if not more important, than the actual Election Day,” said Metro Councilman Eric Crafton, one of several candidates running for one of five at-large seats. “So, I plan on being at various early voting sites every day.”

Albert Tieche, Davidson County’s elections administrator, said he anticipates approximately 30 percent of the county’s 345,000 registered voters to cast ballots this year. He expects half of all voters to take advantage of the convenience of early voting, a ratio that’s emerged as the norm over time. 

“We’re getting real close to voting half those people early,” Tieche said. “That’s kind of how it breaks out. Maybe we’ll have 90,000 vote and 45,000 will vote early, and 45,000 on Election Day.”

Four years ago, more than 100,000 people voted overall in Metro’s general election, with 48,303 voting early.

In that mayor’s race, then-Vice Mayor Howard Gentry and former U.S. Rep. Bob Clement actually came in first and second, respectively, when counting exclusively Election Day votes. Karl Dean narrowly came out on top, however, because he won the early vote. Dean later won the September run-off.

This year’s election ballot includes a largely uncontested mayor’s race, but a slew of competitive council district contests, as well as a spirited at-large race. There’s also a much-discussed public referendum on whether to keep the status quo at the 117-acre Tennessee Fairgrounds.

Despite lacking well-known competition, Tom Hayden, Dean’s re-election campaign spokesman, said the campaign is hosting various early voting events beginning Friday.

Dean’s challengers are Marvin Barnes, Bruce Casper and James Keeton.

Peter Westerholm, one of a handful of candidates running to represent East Nashville’s District 6 seat, said early voting is all about making sure targeted supporters get to the polls. Folks have listened to candidates’ platforms and ideas, he said. Now, it’s time for direct action.

“It very much becomes a numbers game, and to find those supporters and try to turn that into turnout,” Westerholm said. “Once early voting starts, you can determine who has come out to vote.”

Registered Davidson County voters can visit nine sites to vote early: the Metro Office Building on Second Avenue; Belle Meade United Methodist Church; Bellevue Community Center; Bordeaux Library; Edmondson Pike Library; Green Hills Library; Hermitage Library; Living Word Community Church; and Madison Library. 

The early voting period runs from July 15 through July 30. Polls are not open on Sundays. Voting begins at 8 a.m. each morning. Sites close at 4:30 p.m. on most nights, but 7 p.m. on selected Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

6 Comments on this post:

By: budlight on 7/14/11 at 7:18

I'm so sorry I voted for Dean in any election - whether early or late!

By: macjedi on 7/14/11 at 8:22

I will gladly vote for Dean again. SOMEONE has to push Nashville forward, and our best mayors have all been like him.

By: govskeptic on 7/14/11 at 9:38

Ye 'ole statement that "all politics is local" certain applies to elections like
this one. With Mayor Dean's re-election all but certain I'm afraid the turn
out will be very small. There remains however several very important
councilmatic races that deserve close attention, and small turnout numbers
only gives the incumbents more of an advantage than they already have.
Of course, that's why the power structure of most locales have them scheduled
in the off years. Get out there and vote folks!

By: titansjoe on 7/14/11 at 9:39

I have lived in Nashville since before it was metro and I don't recall even the worst mayor risking the future of our city by taking such a big risk as the convention center. There is no difference from throwing dice and betting on our future. If the economy gets much better fast we win and if it doesnt the city will be bankrupt. No other mayor would have even allowed it to cross there mind especially with such public opposition.

I will laugh til the cows come home if he loses this election and the entire council is replaced.

By: on 7/14/11 at 2:26

I have lived here for 63 years 45 of which I have paid attention to local politics. In my opinion we have never had a mayor as out of touch with the will of the people as Karl Dean. He shows no concern whatsoever about the people's opinion. He is the most headstrong arrogant politician I have seen since Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Richard Dailey. He must have delusions of grandeur concerning the convention center to risk what he has of our money. I think Phil Bredesen has been the most complete mayor of my lifetime, Dean the worst. At least Bill Boner was entertaining. Nashville has been blessed with good leadership over the timespan Metro has been in effect, one can only hope the next Mayor can right this listing ship.

By: bfra on 7/14/11 at 4:03

By: macjedi on 7/14/11 at 9:22

I will gladly vote for Dean again. SOMEONE has to push Nashville forward, and our best mayors have all been like him.

Karl will be the worst Mayor Nashville has ever had. He will be rated lower than Boner!