Early Voting in Primary Ends Tuesday

By Bill Dries

Early voting could top 10,000 ballots if the voting in advance of the March 6 Election Day continues at last week’s pace.

The last day to vote early at 21 locations across Shelby County is Tuesday, Feb. 28. A list of locations and their hours is at www.shelbyvote.com, the website of the Shelby County Election Commission.

Voter turnout statistics from the commission through Feb. 24 show 8,115 citizens have cast either absentee or early vote ballots since the early voting period began Feb. 15.

The total is 1.3 percent of Shelby County’s 610,920 voters.

The largest daily early voter turnout was Friday, Feb. 24, when 2,002 voted.

Turnout jumped dramatically Feb. 21, the first day that early voting expanded from election commission headquarters Downtown to the 20 satellite sites across the county.

That’s also when the turnout in the Republican primaries on the ballot jumped dramatically as well.

Voters in the set of Republican primaries topped by the state’s Republican presidential primary were 54.1 percent of the early voting turnout through Friday.

Turnout in the Democratic primaries was the remaining 45.9 percent. There are no general elections on the March 6 ballot.

On the Democratic side, President Barack Obama is running unopposed in the presidential primary. But the four local Democratic primaries below that feature a hotly contested five-way race for General Sessions Court clerk.

The three top early voting sites had each topped 500 voters through Friday. Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova was the top early voting site with 543 early voters, followed by Collierville Church of Christ with 513 and Bishop Byrne High School in Whitehaven with 505.

Early voters can vote at any of the 21 sites regardless of where they live.