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The Scoop - Thankfully, people are finally voting
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There's an old saying that suggests if you don't vote then you don't have the right to complain.

Either people are really wanting to complain or they're suddenly wanting to have a say in our political process because there have been swarms of voters during the early voting period.

This is undoubtedly a great thing. I've covered my share of elections where it seemed like tumbleweed should roll by there were so few people voting.

I've seen local voter turnout as low as 25%, which is an extremely sad showing since voter turnout is based on the number of registered voters, not the total population. Warren County has a population of some 40,000 people with some 20,000 of those registered to vote. So if we have a voter turnout of 25%, only about 5,000 people are voting.

With the race for U.S. President topping the ballot, both sides are spinning the strong turnout as an encouraging sign for their camp. The Trump administration believes people are flocking to the polls because they are thrilled with his leadership and they can't wait for four more years.

The Democrats see it exactly the opposite and say people are so eager to vote because they are disgruntled and disappointed at the direction of America.

I had a chance to chat with Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett yesterday and he was pleased to say the state has smashed its previous record for early voting. Hargett traveled to six counties Tuesday to check out the election process, beginning with Warren County at 9 a.m.

"Early voting now represents about 60% of the total vote," said Hargett, "and in some counties it's over 70%."

About a decade ago, early voting and Election Day voting were roughly a 50-50 split. But the convenience of early voting over a two-week period, even on Saturdays, has more and more people taking advantage of that option.

As Tennessee's top election official, Hargett said he's frequently asked about election security. He said none of the voting machines in the state are connected to the internet so election tampering can't occur that way.

"Tennessee is unique in that we have bipartisan election commissions that run our elections in every county," said Hargett.

When it comes to counting paper ballots, Hargett pointed out each office has counting boards. When counting paper ballots, a Republican and a Democrat verify each ballot in hopes that no wrongdoing takes place.

It's all part of ensuring that when you go to the polls to cast your ballot, your vote goes to the person in which it's intended.

I think our elections in America are trustworthy, provided they aren't decided by a court, and I'm predicting a comfortable victory in the race for U.S. President.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.