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VOL. 133 | NO. 149 | Monday, July 30, 2018

Early Voter Turnout Tops 2014, Surges on Final Day

By Bill Dries

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Early voting in advance of Tuesday's election day topped 86,000 as well as the early voting turnout for the same election cycle four years ago in Shelby County. (Daily News/Houston Cofield)

Early voter turnout in advance of the Thursday, Aug. 2, election day in Shelby County was higher than four years ago with a surge on Saturday’s final day that was almost as big as the Friday turnout – the largest of the 14-day period.

The 86,002 early voters compares to 82,403 for the same election cycle in 2014 and 93,700 in 2010, according to Shelby County Election Commission numbers. 

Of the 86,002 early voters, 52,485 voted in the state and federal Democratic primaries and 33,088 in the companion Republican primaries with the remainder voting in the county general election only.

The gap of 19,397 between the Democratic and Republican primaries at the end of the voting period grew from a 13,376 lead in Democratic participation going into Friday.

Friday’s turnout of 11,682 was followed by a Saturday turnout of 11,076. In both of the previous early voting periods for the same election cycle in 2010 and 2014, the next to last day of the period also had the highest daily turnout.

Election commission data shows that 20 of the 176 election day precincts in Shelby County had more than 20 percent of their voters vote early.

In precinct 57-00 in East Memphis, which votes on election day at Second Baptist Church and was also one of the 27 early voting locations, 31 percent of the precinct’s 1,421 voters cast their votes during the 14-day period – 993 in the Republican primary and 410 in the Democratic primary.

Among the candidates courting voters at Second Baptist on the final day of early voting was Republican contender for governor Randy Boyd.

Boyd said the early voting period is a chance to get an idea how the campaigns – in this case a contentious statewide primary with four major contenders – are connecting with voters.

“You are actually out talking to real voters in their hometowns,” he said. 

Democratic contender for governor Karl Dean, who was campaigning Friday in Whitehaven, cautioned against reading too much into turnout numbers with a county general election and state and federal primaries on the same ballot.

“It’s hard to say what it means,” he said. “I think people are interested. … I’m getting a pretty good sense of enthusiasm but we’ll see what it all means on Aug. 2.”

Of the top 20 precincts in terms of the percentage of their voters that cast early ballots, 15 had majorities voting in the Republican primary. But those majorities included healthy turnouts in the Democratic primaries.

In precinct Millington 1, which is part of the county’s six predominantly Republican towns and cities, the 20.7 percent turnout of the 4,673 eligible voters saw 633 vote in the Republican primary and 327 in the Democratic primary.

In precinct 64, which votes on election day at White Station Middle School in East Memphis, the 22.5 percent turnout of 3,266 voters saw 437 voting Republican and 292 Democratic.

In majority Democratic precincts, the partisan difference was larger.

Whitehaven’s precinct 79-02, which votes on election day at Havenview Middle School, had a 22.19 percent turnout of its 2,970 voters. For the precinct, 648 voted in the Democratic primary compared to 10 in the Republican primary.

PROPERTY SALES 76 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 83 131 1,047
BUILDING PERMITS 190 277 3,028