Friday, October 17, 2008

TN Early Voting Hits Record

According to our daily fishwrap , Tennessee’s early voting set a record on Wednesday, with 108,573 people casting ballots statewide. Wednesday was the first day early voting was available here.

Here are some interesting tidbits:
About a third of those votes were cast in just two counties: Davidson and Shelby, according to the Tennessee Division of Elections.

For my out of state readers, Shelby County is Memphis and Davidson County is Nashville. Both are Democratic strongholds in the state. But before we toss the confetti, there’s also this:

Williamson County more than doubled its first-day early voting turnout, with 4,509 casting ballots on Wednesday, and Rutherford's 3,298 was more than a 50 percent increase.

Williamson County is so conservative that some of us affectionately refer to it as “outter wingnuttia.” In fact, its conservatism and the fact that no one knows how to drive down there are the two distinguishing characteristics of Williamson County. I’d say those folks were fired up by the Republican ticket.

But, not all conservative counties have McCain-Palin fever:

Wilson and Sumner Counties had small decreases.


The two largest urban centers in eastern Tennessee, Knox County and Hamilton County, home to Chattanooga, saw falloffs.

I’ll go out on a limb here and make the case that the economic turndown has influenced turnout in less affluent counties like Wilson, Sumner, Knox and Hamilton. These are traditional conservative strongholds, but they don’t have the affluence of Williamson County, which a few years ago ranked the 15th richest in the nation.

It certainly does look like Republicans, at least here in Tennessee, are not as fired up for their tickets as Democrats are.

I still have no doubts about where Tennessee’s 11 electoral votes are going, but I have to wonder if this says anything about other states.