More people are voting early this year, Cooke County data shows.
Compared to the last presidential primaries in 2016, there’s a 67% increase in the first three days of early voting. This year, 1,161 people cast ballots early Tuesday through Thursday. In 2016, 695 people voted early during the same time frame, according to information from Cooke County Clerk Pam Harrison.
As of about 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21 — the fourth day of early voting — another 355 people had cast ballots Friday in the Republican and Democratic primaries at the Cooke County Courthouse Annex, 112 S. Dixon St., according to Harrison. She also said she had received 68 mail-in ballots so far.
Gainesville resident Bill Cox made his way to the polls Friday. He said he “wanted to get it done with” when asked why he was casting his ballot early.
He said he didn’t want to be caught up in the Election Day crowds. However, he did say he “hopes” there are a lot of people at the polls on Election Day.
Mildred Kemp, also a Gainesville resident, said she doesn’t like standing in lines.
“I like to do it early,” Kemp said.
Valley View resident Mike Doss said he was voting early Friday because he is “going to be out of town” on Election Day.
At one point Friday, all 20 of the county’s new ExpressVote ballot marking devices set up for early voting were full, Harrison said. She said three voters were given paper ballots just because all the machines were occupied.
“That was the first time that has happened,” Harrison said.
Early voting began Tuesday, Feb. 18, and continues at the annex from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24 through Friday, Feb. 28.
Information from Harrison shows there are 26,073 registered voters in the county. Election Day is Tuesday, March 3.