With the future of the COVID-19 pandemic still an uncertainty, the Henry County Election Commission hopes that absentee voting could make things easier at the polls for the Aug. 6 county general election.

During its Monday afternoon meeting, DeLaina Green, county administrator of elections, told the commission the state was considering asking its 1.4 million voters age 60 and older to consider early voting.

That move could make handling Election Day crowds easier on everyone.

“The more people we have for absentee votes, the less of a problem we’ll have for Election Day,” Green said.

People that age and older are automatically eligible to vote by mail.

Locally, that’s a large portion of the electorate, Green said. Of the roughly 20,000 voters currently registered in Henry County, 8,161 are at least 60.

In addition, voters 60 and older make up a disproportionate number of those actually casting ballots in local elections.

Green cited figures showing more than half of the ballots cast in three previous elections were done by those older than 60.

For example, in the March presidential preference primary, a total of 2,670 of the 4,127 votes cast were that age, while in the August 2018 county general election, nearly two-thirds of the votes — 4,151 out of 6,949 ­— were cast by those 60 or older.

In the November 2018 general election, 6,021 of the 10,977 voters were in that age range.

May 8 is the first day for absentee requests to be considered, with the deadline falling on July 30.

To apply, go online at www.govotetn.com, download the GoVoteTN app for Android or Apple phones, or contact the Henry County Election Commission office at 642-0411.

Green said if voters call her office, she can verify a voter’s information before sending them the necessary paperwork.

The board also discussed some of the logistical problems that might arise from having an increase in absentee ballots.

Among the possible solutions are adding a second station to count ballots, bringing in additional personnel for Election Day and combining several voting precincts into so-called supersites.

The commission will consider what measures will be needed at its next scheduled meeting on June 1.

In other business, the commission approved the list of candidates for the Aug. 5 state primary and county general election.

The election will include contested races for 24th District chancellor and state senator, as well as a race for the Henry County Board of Education in the 1st District.

An article on the list of candidates appeared in the April 6 edition of The P-I.

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