More than 100,000 cast absentee ballots in Tennessee primary

More than 100,000 cast absentee ballots in Tennessee primary
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Tennessee officials say that a record number of voters submitted absentee ballots for the state's primary elections on Thursday.

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett's (R) office told The Tennessean that at least 116,000 mail-in ballots had been cast as of Wednesday. This number is expected to increase, as at least 20 counties have yet to report updated figures, according to the paper.

Tennessee's previous record for absentee ballots was roughly 64,000, a mark that was reached in general elections in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

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Some 95,000 ballots had been tallied by Aug. 1, the end of Tennessee's early voting period. More than 60,300 of the ballots were cast by Democrats, while about 32,200 ballots were submitted by Republicans.

A Davidson County judge in June had ruled that fear of contracting COVID-19 was a valid reason for all Tennessee voters to request a mail-in ballot.

However, the Tennessee Supreme Court on Wednesday said that the coronavirus pandemic won't be an acceptable reason to vote by mail in November, though it made clear that absentee ballots for Thursday's elections will remain valid.