More votes cast during first 8 days of early voting in Smith County than all of March primaries

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TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Smith County Elections Administrator Karen Nelson predicted in the early summer that she was expecting higher than normal turnout for the presidential election in the fall and so far it has rung in true.

As of Thursday morning, more ballots had been cast in the county through roughly the first week of early voting than the entire March primary.

After more than 5,000 votes were cast on Wednesday, it brought the grand total to more than 42,400. Throughout the March primary, including two weeks of early voting and Election Day, only 40,036 ballots were submitted; a turnout rate of just 28% for the county.

This follows a national trend that shows high voter turnout as early voting continues to bring in voters. The U.S. Elections Project estimates that more than 41 million ballots have been cast nationwide.

Nelson received approval from county commissioners to add two new sites for early voting in expectation of higher turnout but also to help promote social distancing during the pandemic.

One of those sites, Workhub on South Broadway in Tyler, will also host a healthcare forum with Audrey Spanko Thursday.

Spanko is the Democratic challenger to State Sen. Bryan Hughes and had challenged him to a debate, but he never responded.

Many local leaders have been captured in line at the polls, including Precinct 1 Commissioner Jeff Warr and retiring 114th District Court Judge Christi Kennedy.

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