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VOL. 133 | NO. 89 | Thursday, May 3, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: About The Election Turnout, Luttrell's Last Budget and Gold Records

By Bill Dries

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It turns out election turnout in Tuesday’s county primary elections was up from the same election cycle four years ago – almost 19,000 more voters – a 14.9 percent turnout if you only go by the number of “active” voters – 13.4 percent if you go with combined active and “inactive”. Yes, when last we met, I said it was a decrease from 2014. It’s not. And here is how that happened.

Voter turnout in Tuesday's county primary election was more than the same election cycle four years ago and four years before that.

Democratic nominee for county mayor Lee Harris after his win in Tuesday's county primary election.

Our election night estimate of voter turnout is based on the unofficial returns which are followed by an audit and results certified by the Shelby County Election Commission. So when the election commission revamped its website we were glad to see a listing of voter turnout in elections going back to 1968 by the certified results. And when I got ready to write an advancer on election day we went to that table for the data on voter turnout in this election cycle in the past. By that table, there was an 18 percent turnout of 96,121 voters in May of 2014.

Republican nominee for county mayor David Lenoir accepts congratulations after his primary win Tuesday.

And on Wednesday morning, alert readers referred to our election night account from 2014 that showed an almost 11 percent turnout of 56,000 voters. The Election Commission website also includes a deeper dive into election data from the past. It doesn’t go all the way back to 1968, but it does go back to 2014 and there you can find the SOVC – statement of votes cast – a voluminous count precinct-by-precinct that showed 56,117 votes total cast in the mayoral primaries that May.

Long story short, Election administrator Linda Phillips, who was not administrator in 2014, tells us the SOVC and our election night vote count in May 2014 based on the unofficial returns is the correct turnout and the turnout table is in error. She is now in the process of going back to review every election on the turnout table to make sure it matches the SOVC. The problem here was in transferring the information from the certified results to the turnout table and is not any kind of discrepancy in what the Election Commission certified.

Comparisons between these two elections or to the 2010 primaries where turnout was also lower by number and percentage than it was this time around – 11.1 percent with 66,101 voters in 2010 – are difficult for a number of reasons from the candidates running and not running one election cycle to the next, to the fact that only the Downtown early voting site was open in the first week of early voting in 2010 and 2014 as opposed to all 21 sites up and running from day one of early voting this year.

Here’s the recap of the countywide races with some insight into what the general election race for mayor will likely be like. And here’s the review of the county commission races.

The Grizz made it official Wednesday introducing J.B. Bickerstaff, left,as the no longer interim coach of the team.

A first look at the budget book for county mayor Mark Luttrell’s last budget proposal to the county commission shows he too will be proposing a change in the county property tax rate just as Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is proposing.

A lot can happen in the last 24 hours of a legislative session – so much, that it can take a bit to piece it all together. That’s what our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard has done in his “View From The Hill” column, which follows the unlikely teaming up of Memphis Democrat Joe Towns and Johnson City Republican Micah Van Huss and Towns confrontation with state Senator Bo Watson  who came to tell the House the Senate had adjourned.

Michael Rixter was an integral part of those who have persevered and persisted in Whitehaven over a lot of years. I dealt with him a lot as the general property manager for Southland Mall – the city’s first shopping mall – that under Rixter’s watch was always striving and always putting its best appearance forward. He made a hard job look easy. And his outlook always went beyond just the property line of the mall that has endured even as newer, much bigger malls have come and gone or come and slipped into obscurity. With his passing this week, Rixter will be missed for his abilities and his dedication.

Making J.B. Bickerstaff official at the Forum. And The Undefeated on Bernie Bickerstaff and his son.

You hear a lot about investors buying single family homes sometimes in lots and often buying from afar in other cities and other states because of the dirt cheap prices in some parts of our city. The reason is because it is a significant part of the current face of real estate in Memphis post recession. Larry Bonds is one of those investors who lives and is renovating his investment properties in Greenlaw.

The Community Foundation considers next steps now that the MLK50 commemorations have run their course. And the next step is grants – six of them at $25,000 each to nonprofits with a strategic plan in one of six specific areas of need or goals for Memphis.

Christ Community Health Services moves its women’s health center to its Broad Avenue clinic that has just been renovated and expanded.

Associated Press with a post mortem on Nashville’s mass transit ballot question that got crushed by voters there Tuesday evening.

And another post-election follow up on the crash that took down Knox County’s election website Tuesday evening.

This week in Nashville, there was an unveiling at the Johnny Cash Museum there of the gold record Cash got in 1956 from Sam Phillips for Cash’s first hit – “I Walk The Line.” Rolling Stone on why this was a treasured possession Cash kept until his death in 2003 and the story behind the made in Memphis hit.

Interesting timing on this since the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) didn’t begin awarding gold records based on sales until 1958. But various record labels had been giving out gold records for more than a decade before the ones tied to industry wide sales or order figures. According to the blog ratherrarerecords.com, the first gold record went to Glenn Miller in 1942.

PROPERTY SALES 62 288 2,619
MORTGAGES 52 197 1,783