Sales Tax Hike Early Voting Expands

By Bill Dries

Early voting in the last elections of 2013 expands Tuesday, Nov. 12, to 15 satellite voting sites across Memphis.

The early voting period, underway since Nov. 1 and ending Nov. 16, is for the only citywide election of an unusually busy political year that has featured 11 elections in three months.

(Daily News File/Lance Murphey)

The early vote ballot in advance of the Nov. 21 election day features the citywide referendum on a half-cent sales tax hike. Voters in Tennessee House District 91 also will be deciding a general election for the House seat held by the late Lois DeBerry for 41 years.

Democratic nominee Raumesh Akbari faces Libertarian Party nominee Jim Tomasik in that race, with the winner going to Nashville in January as the newest member of the Shelby County delegation to the Tennessee Legislature. The winner is also likely to run in the 2014 elections for a full two-year term representing the district.

The 15 early voting sites, in addition to the Shelby County Election Commission offices, 157 Poplar Ave., represent a rehearsal in some ways for the larger election efforts to come in 2014, when voters in August will face what is expected to be the longest ballot in Shelby County history.

The August county general, and state and federal primary elections next year will feature the “big ballot” that occurs every eight years and includes judicial races in which candidates are elected to eight-year terms of office.

With Tuesday’s expansion of early voting, proponents of the sales tax hike to fund a pre-kindergarten expansion in the city of Memphis plan to ramp up their campaign with phone bank efforts as well as a campaign presence at the early voting sites. Supporters are already running television ads.

Through Wednesday, Nov. 6, 415 citizens had cast early ballots in the two races. While District 91 does not encompass the entire city of Memphis, voters in that district can vote in the race at any of the satellite early voting sites, even those outside the state House district.

The satellite early voting sites opening Tuesday are: