VOL. 7 | NO. 32 | Saturday, August 2, 2014
Early Voter Turnout Tops 82,000
By Bill Dries
More than 82,000 Shelby County voters cast early ballots in the early voting period that ended Saturday, Aug. 2, according to turnout statistics from the Shelby County Election Commission.
The 82,403 early voters in advance of the Thursday, Aug. 7, election day are 15.3 percent of the county’s 537,066 voters.
Most of the early voters, 54 percent or 44,501, voted in the Democratic state and federal primaries on the ballot. That compares to 44.3 percent or 36,469 who voted in the companion Republican primaries and 1.7 percent or 1,433 early voters who skipped the primaries and voted in the county general elections only.
The participation is seen by politicos as an indication of how the county general election may turnout for the candidates in those partisan county races in which party nominees were chosen in May county primary elections.
The early voting turnout statistics show 36.5 percent of the voters were white with 34.6 percent black and 28.9 percent were “other.” The other category includes those voters who did not indicate their race on voter registration forms. Voters are not required to indicate their race on the forms.
The statistics also show 59.3 percent of the early voters were women and 40.7 percent were men.
By age, those 65 and older accounted for 37.9 percent of the early voters followed by the 28.1 percent who are ages 55-64.
Voters 18-24 were the lowest category by age, accounting for 2.2 percent of the early vote. Voters aged 25-34 accounted for 4.5 percent and those 35-44 were 9.1 percent of the early vote. Voters 45-54 were 18.1 percent of the turnout.
Early voter turnout four years ago was higher at 93,736 early voters. The 2010 ballot featured most of the same partisan county general election races and state and federal primary races but without the nonpartisan judicial and school board races featured on the 2014 ballot.
The 2014 August ballot is part of the “big ballot” election cycle featuring judicial races that are on the ballot regularly once every eight years.
It is the longest ballot of any election cycle in Shelby County politics.