A string of deadly tornados that killed at least 22 people Monday night has also disrupted Super Tuesday voting, officials said.
Voting will begin an hour late at polls in Davidson County, where Nashville is, as well as Wilson County as the communities recover from the damage caused by the tornados, which hit Nashville just before 1 a.m.
Several alternate polling stations will also be opened, Nashville election officials said, after some original polling places became inaccessible or lost electricity.
Nashville residents may vote between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Lee warned that the official death toll from the tornados could continue to rise as rescue operations proceed.
“There’s a really good possibility that there may be more,” Lee said, referring to the number of fatalities, “because of the number of folks that we know that are missing and haven’t been reported. It’s early yet.”
Lee said that the state is doing everything it can to ensure voters are able to make it to functional polling stations.
“We’ve actually deployed generators to polling places that are reporting that they don’t have power,” Lee said. “So, of course we want people to exercise caution in areas like downtown Nashville where there’s damage in the streets and that sort of thing. But we also want folks to exercise their rights to get out there and vote. It’s a very important day for that.”
“So, we’re going to make it possible for as many folks as we can to vote — and wherever we find a polling station that there’s a problem, we’re reaching out to correct that,” the governor added.
Nashville also closed local courts due to the destruction but is reportedly nevertheless prepared to address any election-related legal issues, according to a state court official.
Thirteen other primary elections will be held on Super Tuesday besides Tennessee: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Democrats Abroad.
In Alabama, at least one polling station lost power due to storms but voting machines remained operational thanks to battery backups.