Early voting opened Monday morning, Oct. 17, and Catoosa County voters didn't hesitate in going to the polls to cast their ballots.

"We were very busy Monday," said Tonya Moore, Catoosa County elections director. "There's always a bigger voter turnout when there's a presidential race."

According to Moore, there are 31,172 active voters in Catoosa County of the 42,259 registered. Inactive voters are those that are registered, but haven’t voted in the past eight years.

On Monday, Moore says 809 residents voted in person between the Freedom Center precinct in Ringgold and the Westside precinct in Rossville.

Now, two full days into the early voting process, Moore says the two precincts have garnered 1,640 total in-person votes.

"We also mailed out 556 absentee ballots," Moore said.

Although residents will have to vote at their designated precincts on election day (Tuesday, Nov. 8), residents are welcome to vote at either the Freedom Center or Westside precincts between now and Friday, Nov. 4.

The Freedom Center is located at 5238 Evitt St in Ringgold and the Westside precinct is located at 3319 Lakeview Drive in Rossville.

In addition to the Monday-through-Friday early voting hours, both precincts will offer extended hours on Thursday, Nov. 3, and a full Saturday opportunity to cast ballots on Oct. 29.

Although, the precincts are usually closed from noon to 1 p.m. for lunch, Moore says they will stay open during that time while early voting is in progress and on election day.

Early voting hours

€ Monday through Friday, Oct. 17-21, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

€ Monday through Friday, Oct. 24-28, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

€ Saturday, Oct.29, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

€ Monday through Friday, Oct. 31 to Nov. 4, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

€ Thursday, Nov. 3, extended hours, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Anyone seeking additional information about early voting can call the elections office at 706-935-3990 or go online to www.catoosa.com.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009. He can be reached at The Catoosa County News office at 706-935-2621 and by email at acook@npco.com.