By Mike Steely

This Thursday is the final day for early voting in the Knoxville City Election for five City Council seats. How does the number of voters in this general election compare with previous years?

Chris Davis, Administrator of the Knox County Election Commission, told The Focus that voting has increased over the last city election two years ago.

“Early voting numbers at the halfway point (seven days) are already almost as high as they were for all of early voting (fourteen days) in the 2017 City of Knoxville General Election,” Davis reported.

“I believe we will probably see between 15,000 and 20,000 total votes cast for this election,” he said.

Unlike previous city elections, this year saw the Republican Party reach into the contests in a very partisan way to separate what it termed their “conservative” candidates from those incumbent council members seeking re-election who also happen to be Democrats.

Recent years have seen Democrats basically assume majority on the council as well as electing two Democrats as the city’s first two women mayors. The demographics of the city have changed with young professionals moving downtown and into the nearby neighborhoods and joining with traditional party members in electing city leaders.

Much of the attention seems to focus on the races for council in Districts Three and Four. Seema Singh currently represents District Three and is opposed by Nicholas Ciparro.  Lauren Rider represents District Four and is opposed by Jim Klonaris. Both primary races were closer than the other three races and while the City Council Movement candidates didn’t progress to the general election, the organization is encouraging turnout with the direct endorsement of the candidates.

Unlike the primary election in which only those people living in a district with candidates could vote, the early voting and general election ask each city voter, no matter what district they live in, to vote on all five seats. The general election is November 2nd.