Hargett speaks to Morristown Kiwanis Club

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett speaks to the Kiwanis Club at the Country Club in Morristown on Friday.

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett visited Cocke County’s early voting site Thursday and then doled out several grants to local libraries.

The first day of early voting in Cocke County on Wednesday set a record and Hargett said that was the story across the state. A record-breaking 273,325 people cast their ballot by voting early or absentee by-mail. This is a 91% increase from the first day of early voting in 2016.

“Across the state we saw a strong turnout but most importantly we saw smooth and efficient work by all the election commissions across the state,” Hargett said. “I am really proud of how they stepped up to handle the massive turnout.”

Asked if he is feeling comfortable about the increased absentee voting by mail in Tennessee, Hargett said election commissions are working hard to make sure ballots are getting out to voters.

“They are matching up signatures on requests and as we get ballots back in. Election commissions are up to the challenge of making it work.”

Hargett also handed out grants to two Cocke County libraries.

“CARES funding appropriated by congress goes to help libraries through the pandemic for cleaning supplies, Wi-Fi hotspots and things like that.”

The technology grants are provided for upgrading software and computers.

“Now more than ever, technology is critical to be able to support the needs of the community,” Hargett said.

Stokely Memorial Library received a CARES Grant of $3,667 and the Parrottsville Community Library received $1,665. Stokely Memorial Library also got a technology grant in the amount of $351.