Early voting underway

Voters prepare to cast their ballots at the Rhea County Election Commission during the early voting period for the Aug. 6 election. Early voting continues until Aug. 1.

Early voting for the upcoming Aug. 6 state primary and county general election is underway at the Rhea County Election Commission in Dayton.

Early voting began Friday and continues until Saturday, Aug. 1. Early voting is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rhea County Election Commission near the courthouse. Early voting will also be available on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon during the early voting period.

Early voting will also be taking place at the Spring City Municipal Building from Monday, July 20, through Saturday, July 25. Polls will be open in Spring City 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Rhea County Administrator of Elections Tom Davis said that July 30 is the last day to process requests for absentee ballots.

“Our office has been working diligently to ensure a safe and secure election for voters,” said Tom Davis, the Rhea County Administrator of Elections. “I encourage Rhea County voters to help us minimize the amount of time it takes to cast a ballot by voting early.”

Tennesseans are encouraged to do their part during early voting and on Election Day. State officials said this includes wearing a face covering and maintaining a six-foot distance from poll officials and other voters. Voters should expect to see signs with further safety instructions at their polling locations. All poll officials will be wearing face coverings and are trained in social distancing protocols.

“I encourage voters to take advantage of Tennessee’s generous early voting period. Early voting offers voters the flexibility to choose their location and time to cast a ballot,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “Across Tennessee, county election commissions have been preparing to run a safe and secure election. You can help them reduce Election Day crowds by voting early.”

Local election officials said that the Rhea County Election Commission will also be taking steps to ensure the voting process is as safe as it can be while the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing.

“Voting will be normal if someone wants to vote in person,” Davis said. “We’ll be providing gloves, pen and an ‘I Voted’ sticker to each voter.”

Officials with the election commission and volunteers put together a packet containing those items that will be handed out to each voter. Voters will be asked to wear gloves while participating in the voting process, and the pen will be used to fill out each voters’ application for a ballot. Davis said that poll workers will also be wearing protective gear, including masks and gloves, and sneeze guards will be put in place to protect both poll workers and voters. To view a sample ballot, visit www.rheavote.com.