While early voting numbers were record-breaking, on Election Day there were few lines to be found anywhere. But new voters were plentiful, and there appeared to be more diversity in voters.
“There has been a steady trickle all day,” said Christian Potucek, who was sitting with Charlie Baum, Senior holding an election sign.
“Here at Siegel Middle School it hasn’t taken very long to vote,” added Baum.
Most sites reported voters waiting when the polls opened at 7:00 a.m., but the line only lasted about an hour, and it was cleared out by about 8:00 a.m. During the day voting stations saw small numbers of voters in a pretty steady stream, but no more lines until after 4:00 p.m. There was an uptick after work hours.
Several voting sites mentioned the increased number of first-time voters. Steve Dougherty, a poll worker in Murfreesboro said, “We worked hard to try to get more MTSU students to vote. In both the 2016 and 2018 elections, only 31% of registered voters between 18 and 24 voted. Our goal was to get more young people out, and we did.”
“We are cheering for first time voters,” said Joan Kleinlein, another poll worker.
“Not all of the first-time voters are young,” said Dougherty. “We had one really old first-time voter. I’m sixty and he was much older than me.”
There was also much more diversity in the range of voters in age, race, and gender. Wallet Hub recently ran a story, “States with the Best and Worst Representation on Election Day”. Tennessee was categorized as the third worst, especially as far as race representation. The rating looked at total representation as a percentage of registered voters, race, age, and gender. One interesting trend of note, according to research done by the Center for American Women and Politics, is that since 1980, more women than men have been voting in elections. In the last presidential election, that number was 10 million more.
Voters were all very well-mannered and considerate of others, carefully keeping the six-foot distance according to CDC protocol, and following all of the other new voting instructions designed to keep everyone safe.
Voters with COVID-19 who wished to vote in person were allowed to vote using special procedures. Poll personnel working with these voters were given hospital grade personal protective equipment and alternate voting procedures to follow with them in order to keep these voters separated from the general population.
“It has been a really good day,” said one pole worker. “It has been good to see so many first-time, and diverse voters this year. We had several people in their forties and more who had never voted before.”