Tennessee's early voting period ends Thursday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Thursday marks the last day in Tennessee to vote early in person for the Nov. 3 presidential election.

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Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office says more than 2.1 million Tennesseans have voted as of the close of polls Wednesday, already surpassing the previous record of nearly 1.7 million early and absentee ballots cast during the 2016 presidential election.

Each county is reporting higher numbers than ever before, Hargett's office said. Voters and poll workers around the state have been wearing masks, keeping 6 feet between people waiting in line and taking other coronavirus-related precautions.

Tennessee offers 14 days of in-person early voting.

Wearing protective masks, Dawn Adair and Rodney Nash voted at the Glenview Park polling place in Memphis. There, voters were given their own pen and stylus — a popsicle stick — and poll workers wore masks and gloves as they took ID's and handed out electronic voting cards.

Adair and Nash, both Democrats, said they had seen long lines at other polling places throughout early voting, but they were pleased to find nearly no wait at Glenview Park.

“That’s probably the least amount of time I’ve had to wait,” said Adair, 48. "I was kind of expecting more people here, and more of a wait, or a bit of a glitch, but it was really easy.”

Voters can find early voting and Election Day polling locations, hours and more with the GoVoteTN app or at GoVoteTN.com.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot was Tuesday.

Completed absentee ballots must be received by local election commissions via mail by Election Day's close of polls. Officials are urging voters to drop off ballots inside the one post office designated in each county by 3 p.m. on Election Day so that county election officials have time to pick up ballots.