When early voting opened in Tennessee on Wednesday, residents were lined up outside the Cumberland County Election Commission ready to let their voice be heard at the ballot box.

More than 1,500 people voted that first day in Cumberland County, undeterred by a line that at times stretched to the Chamber of Commerce building. 

Things were running smoothly in Cumberland County, thanks to the election commission’s dedicated staff of office personnel and poll workers. 

Across the state, turnout was brisk on Tuesday, with several counties reporting their biggest first day of early voting in recent memory. State Elections Coordinator Mark Goins said Wednesday that early voting could very well set a record in Tennessee.

In addition, Tennessee now has 4.4 million registered voters. That’s up from 3.9 million in June. There were just under 40,000 registered voters in Cumberland County in June, but there were about 1,300 new registrations by the Oct. 5 deadline to register to vote.

Registering to vote is step one in the process. Step two is to vote. 

Tennessee offers in-person early voting through Thursday, Oct. 29. 

All early voting in Cumberland County is conducted at the Election Commission office, 2 S. Main St., Suite 105. Polls are open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon during the early voting period.

Bring your government-issued photo ID to vote. This includes your driver’s license, a photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security or a passport. 

Voters can also request an absentee ballot to vote by mail. Tennessee allows registered voters to request a ballot if they will be away from home during the early voting period and election day; if you are 60 years old or older; or if you are hospitalized, ill or physically disabled or caring for someone who is hospitalized, ill or physically disabled — including people with an underlying condition that makes them more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 or at greater risk of complications from the illness.

The complete list of reasons Tennessee accepts for voting absentee by mail can be found at sos.tn.gov.

Requests must be made in writing to the election commission office no later than Oct. 27. However, all absentee ballots must be returned through the mail to the election commission before polls close Nov. 3. 

You can track your ballot status online at sos.tn.gov/elections. 

If you wish to vote on election day, Nov. 3, you must report to your voting precinct to vote. You must bring a government-issued photo ID. And you must be in line before polls close at 7 p.m. in order to vote. 

Tennessee offers many ways to make your voice heard. Make a plan for how you will cast your vote in the Nov. 3 election.

—Crossville Chronicle