KNOXVILLE — Farragut voters were extremely pleased with some changes — including a longer early voting period and an additional Election Day polling place — that made it more convenient for them to cast ballots in the recent municipal election, according to results of a survey done by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
In a pilot project authorized by the state legislature and approved by the Farragut Board of Aldermen, Farragut voters were able to participate in early voting right up until Election Day and to cast their ballots at the Farragut Town Hall on Election Day instead of the usual polling place at the Farragut high school. Normally, early voting would end five days before Election Day, and Election Day voting took place only at the high school.
In cooperation with Greg Mackay, Knox County administrator of elections, researchers from UT’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and the Department of Political Science surveyed 670 of the 2,311 voters who cast ballots at the Farragut Town Hall between March 18 and April 7.
These findings indicate that many Farragut voters took advantage of the extended early voting period, gave extraordinarily high marks to the administration of the election and considered the Farragut Town Hall to be a very convenient polling location for both early voting and Election Day voting.
Among the findings:
• Overall, 99.7 percent rated their voting experience as “good” or “excellent” with 94.3 percent rating their experience as “excellent.”
• Voters also thought very highly of the performance of the poll workers at the Farragut Town Hall, with 99.8 percent giving them an “excellent” or “good” rating and the vast majority (94.3 percent) giving them an “excellent” rating.
• About 77 percent of the voters who cast ballots voted early; the other 23 percent cast their ballots on Election Day.
• Among those who voted early, more than 36 percent voted in the new “extended” early voting period, April 3-6.
• Among all early voters, about 80 percent reported that they had to wait less than a minute to cast their vote, while 75 percent of voters on Election Day indicated that they had to wait less than a minute to vote after arriving at the polling place. Not a single voter reported having to wait more than five minutes to cast their ballot after arriving at the polling place.
• Like those who voted early, Election Day voters thought that the Farragut Town Hall was a very convenient polling location, with 98.3 percent rating its convenience as “excellent” and the other 1.7 percent rating its convenience as “good.” These figures were even higher than the 95.6 percent of early voters who rated its convenience as “excellent.”
The methodology for the survey followed a random selection protocol in which election workers distributed questionnaires to a random sample of Farragut voters. The results enable the researchers to say with 95 percent confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.
Survey administrators were Baker Center Interim Director Nissa Dahlin-Brown and political science professors Michael R. Fitzgerald, David H. Folz and John M. Scheb.
Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, firstname.lastname@example.org)