NASHVILLE, Tenn. — As Super Tuesday voting got underway, deadly storms that spawned tornadoes and heavy rains left treacherous conditions in at least two of the 14 states where residents were voting.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper said alternate sites were arranged for 15 polling places out of the 169 precincts in Nashville’s combined city-county area.
“The likelihood of you being able to vote regularly at your home precinct is very great,” Cooper said at Tuesday’s news conference.
Davidson County Administrator of Elections Jeff Roberts said voters from anywhere in the county can go to two so called “supersites” to cast their ballots. The route to those sites is a main thoroughfare that’s not closed due to damage, he said.
“Anyone that wants to vote, we want to create an opportunity for you,” he said.
Poll officers taking voting totals from individual precincts to the central office where the votes will be counted are going to have to use caution later this evening, after polls close, he said.
“They’re going have to be able to navigate closed streets and all of those kinds of things to get there tonight, so that we can tabulate the vote.”
Reporting of voting results could be delayed because of the travel issues, he said.
Some polling sites in Nashville and in Davidson and Wilson counties opened an hour late but were still set to close at 8 p.m. EST as scheduled, Secretary of State Tre Hargett announced.
Tornadoes had ripped through parts of the state just hours earlier, destroying buildings and killing at least 19 people, as severe storms caused damage across the state.
In rural central Alabama, high winds howled and the National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for at least five counties. In rural Bibb County, southwest of Birmingham, as seven poll workers were getting ready to open up the Lawley Senior Activity Center, cellphone alerts began going off with a tornado warning about 6:45 a.m., said volunteer Gwen Thompson.
The storm knocked out electricity, she said, but the precinct’s two electronic voting machines had battery backups and a few people had cast ballots less than an hour later.
“We’re voting by flashlight,” Thompson said.