By Mike Steely

Maybe it was the heated presidential race plus the number of very active races for congress and the state house, but the turnout for early voting and mail-in ballots in Knox County set records.

Chris Davis, Administrator of Elections, told The Focus Friday morning that the largest prior election, in 2008, had 188,910 total voters. “Turnout in early voting and absentee voting in this election exceeded four years ago by over 30,000 votes,” he added.

“Knox County not only set the record for early and absentee voting in this election, the record was obliterated,” Davis said.

“We only need 17,000 votes on election day to break that record. I believe we will break the record and could approach 200,000 voters when all is said and done,” Davis said. Knox County has 290,505 registered voters.

A total of 171,592 people voted early or by mail.

Early voting in-person ballots totaled 153,197 and there have been, so far, 18,395 absentee votes.

The largest number of votes was, as usual, at Downtown West, followed by Farragut, Clinton Highway, Halls, Karns, South, City-County Building, the Love Kitchen and UT.

Special voting places for people who have COVID-19 will be announced Monday by the Knox County Election Commission.