Tennessee Coordinator of Elections: November ‘very difficult to plan for’


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The state coordinator of elections says the November vote is “very difficult to plan for because there is so much unknown.”

Mark Goins has held the job for nearly 12 years but this year with COVID-19 presents challenges no one could have anticipated.

“We have thought through every scenario, you could think of,” Goins told WKRN-TV. “Not only just planning for a polling location to be that can be as safe as it can be under these circumstances with proper PPE, but also planning for a surge if you have, if you will on absentee ballots.”

The absentee ballot question has been a big one with nearly 1-in-4 votes cast in Nashville sent in by mail. But that has not the norm for elections prior to 2020.

“You are looking at 98% that will normally vote in person,” added Goins.

Roughly a million Tennesseans voted in the August primary.

The state election coordinator estimates 2.5 million people will vote in November, but there’s also pending litigation about absentee ballot eligibility that brings careful comments from Goins.

“Anytime you are dealing with litigation, it’s very difficult to plan one thing, and then all of a sudden, you are thrown a curveball,” Goins said.

If you have not registered to vote, that deadline looms in less than a month on October 5.

More information on where and how to vote can be found here.


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