Mayor’s Minute: Go vote on Nov. 3

Early voting has ended. Your last chance to vote in this election is Nov. 3. | NOOGatoday

This is one in a series of Voices pieces by Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. We’re calling it the Mayor’s Minute. Want to share your voice? You can contribute to NOOGAtoday here.

We’re just a few days away from an important election and our country — and Hamilton County — have smashed turnout records from previous years. As someone who loves elections and our democratic process, this makes me so excited for the future of our country.

People are speaking.

Through early voting and absentee ballots, almost 80 million people have voted in this election and more than 88,000 of those votes came from right here in Hamilton County.

That’s already almost 50% of the amount of voters from all of the 2016 election. What an amazing testament to how many people believe in our democracy.

I believe that we have a stronger electorate and country when everyone who is eligible to vote does so. When more people are involved and stay involved it’s better for every level of government and better for our communities.

In the final stretch of this election, we’re seeing an array of disinformation about our electoral process. The simple truth is that our elections are secure and claims made against absentee and mail-in voting have been proven false time and time again. While I believe that we should do everything in our power to expand access to voting, people should not worry about any interference with their ballot.

For those who didn’t get to early vote, it’s vital that you take the time to make an Election Day plan. You can find your polling place and see a sample ballot at cha.city/vote or by texting CHA VOTES to 97779.

Do not be discouraged by long lines at polling places. They move really quickly! It’s important to know that if you are in line before polls close on Election Day (8 p.m. ET here) you should stay in line because you have the legal right to cast your ballot.

If you voted absentee and you haven’t mailed your ballot we’re encouraging you to mail your ballot the Shallowford Road Post Office, located at 6050 Shallowford Road. Ballots must be submitted before 3 p.m. ET on Tuesday, November 3.

We’ve been through a lot this year but I’ve been encouraged by the number of people calling into City Council, marching with their neighbors, and participating in phone banking. This is what democracy looks like, and I appreciate everyone who works hard to get engaged and make a difference.

Our country is its strongest when we all have a say. Make a plan, go vote, and stay safe.

— Mayor Andy Berke