NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An elections administrator in the tornado-stricken Tennessee county that includes Nashville praised voters for turning out on Super Tuesday despite damage to voting locations and treacherous driving conditions.
More than a dozen voting locations in Davidson County were damaged and closed after a tornado swept through Nashville and surrounding areas before dawn Tuesday. Voters navigated road debris and street closures to reach precincts that were not damaged to cast ballots in the presidential primary election.
Polls in Davidson County opened at 8 a.m., an hour later than originally planned. Campaigns for four Democratic presidential candidates — Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — successfully sued to keep polls open past 7 p.m. local time. A couple of locations remained open until 10 p.m.
State emergency officials said 24 people were killed as fast-moving storms blew through the middle part of the state early Tuesday. Dozens of homes and businesses in several counties were damaged or destroyed.
Despite the adversity, voters still made it to the polls in respectable numbers, Davidson County elections administrator Jeff Roberts said Wednesday.
Roberts estimated that voter turnout was about 25%, roughly what officials expected without the tornado.
“Last night, we still had 35,000 residents without power, roads blocked, the mayor asking people not to get out on the roads, an emergency declaration,” Roberts said. “All of those things added up, yet Davidson County voters still turned out.”'
Late Tuesday, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Tennessee State Conference of the NAACP and three voters asking a judge to extend primary voting by three days due to storm damage in Davidson, Putnam and Wilson Counties.
The lawsuit, which named Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and state election officials as defendants, sought to give more time to voters who were unable to cast ballots Tuesday as they dealt with the tornado's aftermath.
The suit was dismissed Wednesday.
Former Vice President Joe Biden won Tennessee's Democratic primary. President Donald Trump won on the Republican side.