Election commission takes steps to protect voters

With the upcoming elections approaching, the Coffee County Election Commission is taking steps to ensure voters will be social distancing, according to Andy Farrar, administrator of elections for Coffee County.

“Early voting dates are Friday, July 17 to Saturday, Aug. 1,” Farrar said. “I am encouraging every voter to take advantage of early voting.”

Voters will see a different setup for the August and November elections at the two early voting sites, said Farrar.

“The Coffee County Election Commission will be taking appropriate steps to ensure voters can social distance,” he said. “We will be directing voters to larger voting rooms with more voting machines set up in the Coffee County Commission Hall at the Administrative Plaza in Manchester and also in the gym at C.D. Stamps Community Center in Tullahoma.”

A recent donation will help the election commission protect residents casting ballots.

“We also secured a very generous donation of 20,000 stylus pens form Newell Brands,” Farrar said. “Each voter will be given their own stylus pen to sign documents and vote on the machine to ensure no one is sharing items or touching the voting equipment. You will also see sanitizing stations as you enter both early voting sites.”

Farrar urged residents to follow social distancing guidelines.

“While we are doing everything we can to set up all Election Day precincts to be able to social distance, some precincts may be limited on space to ensure voters can social distance properly,” he said.

Voter participation is essential to electing the most qualified person to represent the citizens on a local, state and federal level, said Farrar.

In the August 2016 election, 5,125 voted in Coffee County. In the November 2016 election, 17,857 cast ballots in Coffee County

Farrar encouraged locals to register to vote and to participate in the election. Coffee County had 32,652 registered voters, as of June 17.

Important dates

State of Tennessee Primary, County General and Manchester and Tullahoma Municipal Elections will be held Aug. 6.

The voter registration deadline for the Aug. 6 election is July 7.

Absentee ballots can be requested for the Aug. 6 election until July 30.

Early voting is July 17 to Aug. 1

The Coffee County Election Commission early voting site in Manchester will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays.