By BROOKE WANSER
The early voting period drew to a close Thursday afternoon as Franklin is in the process of selecting four aldermen out of a contested competition pool of nine.
The last day ended up being the busiest of the 14-day early voting period, with 276 people showing up at the Williamson County Administrative Complex to vote. That brought the total early votes cast to 2,319 or 4.3% of the 47,639 eligible voters.
Ward alderman races tend to garner a lower turnout given that voters are presented with a single race to decide. This was the first ward race since 2005 to have contested races in each ward.
Several candidates and their supporters mingled outside the Williamson County Administrative Complex greeting the voters.
Ward 4 candidate Elizabeth Wanczak’s father, Brent Austin, held up her sign as he sat in the shade of a tree next to Ward 3 and Ward 2 candidate supporters. Austin spends half the year in Franklin, where he moved to be closer to his daughter and her family, and half the year in Austin, Texas, where his other daughter lives.
Bobby Langley, a Williamson County native who authored a book based on his childhood and life in Franklin, smiled as he sat next to a sign for Scott Speedy, the Ward 3 candidate. Langley said his and Speedy’s families had long been close.
J. Edward Campbell, one of three candidates for Ward 1, said he felt good going into election day. “I am told that Ward 1 has, most of the time, always voted on the day of the election, so I’m feeling like that’s the reason for the low voter turnout.”
“For some reason, Ward 1 thinks it’s a distance to drive over here,” he continued, “so they’re going to the wait to the day of election to vote.”
A total of 408 voters from Ward 1 came early, the lowest of the four wards. Ward 2 was the highest, with 730.
Ward 2 incumbent Dana McLendon’s father, Dana McLendon, Jr., said his son was in court, but proudly held up a sign in support of his reelection. “Yesterday and today looks to be very heavy [turnout]. A heavy turnout favors him,” he said.
Ward 3 incumbent Michael Skinner was there to support himself, while signs for Ward 4 incumbent Margaret Martin and Ward 2 candidate Mike Vaughn were also seen in the parking lot of the election commission building.
At lunchtime, the polling room was quiet; a few people drifted in and out, with no line.
Linda Rawls, the deputy of the Williamson County Election Commission, said the last day of the early voting period had been “steady, nothing overwhelming.”
Rawls, who has worked for the election commission for the past six-and-a-half years, said about 130 people had voted by 1 p.m. on Thursday.
“This year is easy,” she said. “Next year is going to be a big year, because we have governor, we have senators, and we have mayor,” she said.
But for this election, “The voters will speak on October the 24th,” said Campbell. “And we want to hear from them.”
Election day is Oct. 24, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at your listed polling location. In Franklin, 47,639 voters are registered and eligible to vote in the election