Early voting starts

Early voting for the March 3 election is set to start today in McMinn and Meigs counties.

Today marks the first day of early voting for registered voters for the March 3 presidential preference and county primary election in both McMinn and Meigs counties.

Early voting will last until Feb. 25.

Times available to cast votes will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 8:30 a.m. until noon.

Precincts for McMinn County are City Park School, Etowah Community Center, McMinn Central High School, Englewood School, Rogers Creek School, Riceville School, Calhoun School, Niota School, Ingleside School, Tennessee College of Applied Technology, McMinn County Courthouse, North City School, Jones Chapel Family Life Center, E.K. Baker School and Mt. View School.

Polling locations for Meigs County will be Meigs South Elementary School, Decatur Municipal Building, Meigs County Courthouse, Meigs North Elementary School and Ten Mile Community Center.

Voters in McMinn will be able to vote for property assessor in the Republican primary between incumbent Keith Price and challenger Chuck Burris.

There will also be a question on the ballot in March as to whether or not McMinn County will pre-empt the recent sales tax increase in Athens, a question that will be voted on by voters outside of the City of Athens only.

Athens passed the sales tax referendum in August of 2019 and it increased the local option of the sales tax from 2% to 2.75%.

The official ballot for McMinn County will state this to voters: “Shall Resolution No. 19-110 passed by the McMinn County Commission, which increases the local sales tax rate from 2.00% to 2.75% and results in an increase in funding to local public schools per state distribution, become operative?”

The choices will be “for” or “against.”

Candidates for the Republican Party in the presidential primary are current President Donald Trump and challengers Joe Walsh and Bill Weld.

The Democratic Party candidates on the ballot are Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Debal Patrick, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang.

The Meigs County ballot will feature the same presidential primary options, along with a Republican primary for property assessor with incumbent Billy Breeden facing challenger P.J. Hackney.

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett expressed in a recent news release how early voting can be advantageous.

“Interest is high as voters prepare to select leaders across all levels of government for the November ballot,” said Hargett. “Voters can take advantage of early voting since it offers voters the opportunity to find a convenient time and location to cast their ballots.”

Voters should remember to bring valid photo ID with them such as a drivers license (even if it is expired), however items such as a college student ID are not acceptable.

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