Early voting is taking off, and the most current numbers from the Wilson County Election Commission prove it.
According to official totals from the election commission, 12,602 voters have made their choices since early voting began Oct. 17, when 2,210 votes were counted, an additional 681 absentee ballots have been counted.
Lebanon and Mt. Juliet were neck in neck for the most ballots cast on the first day of early voting with 942 and 952, respectively. Monday and Tuesday featured a lot of people voting in those cities with 1,900 votes in Lebanon and 2,213 in Mt. Juliet.
Wilson County Administrator of Elections Phillip Warren is happy with the early voting turnout, and he hopes it continues.
"It's good and steady," Warren said Wednesday morning. "It's steady, but it's not out the door. And when it is out the door it should take about 25-30 minutes maximum. Most weekdays the wait is about 15 minutes."
Warren again said voting early is a lot faster for voters than braving the lines on Election Day when the weather might not be so fair.
"We want to encourage everyone to early vote this is so much easier, and it moves fast," he said.
Wednesday afternoon several people were in line to vote at Election Commission headquarters, but everyone appeared to be in a talkative, friendly mood and the line moved quickly.
Sammie Crutcher didn't let using a cane deter her from doing her duty and voting. Her fellow voters held her place in line while she sat out part of the wait. She said she has "always" voted.
"I don't think I've missed any," Crutcher said, adding that Early Voting at the Election Commission is closer and more convenient than her designated polling place on Election Day.
Midwife Marilyn Campbell said she votes early for a reason.
"A baby could come, and I wouldn't get to vote on Election Day," she said. "I wouldn't want to miss out, and I think we owe it to everyone in the armed forces because they make it possible for us to vote."
Early voting for the Nov. 6 election will continue through Nov. 1. There are four locations to choose from in Wilson County, including Watertown Community Center, Election Commission Office in Lebanon, Mt Juliet Community Center and Gladeville Community Center. All four locations will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m until 1 p.m.
Warren said the weather is predicted to be summer like for the rest of the work week, ideal for luring out early voters.
"The weather is beautiful, you can't ask for better days," he said. "It's perfect. It's great voting weather - take advantage of it."
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 615-444-3952, ext. 45 or firstname.lastname@example.org.