First day of early voting off to a historic start in Shelby County

Updated: Oct. 14, 2020 at 10:43 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Shelby County Election Commission knew there would be a lot of interest in this election, and a record was set for the first day of early voting. Almost 27,000 people voted in Shelby County.

The polls at most precincts stayed open until 8 pm.

The election commission says voter turnout starts tapering off after the first day of early voting, but that may not be the case with this presidential election.

Some voters said they waited as long as three hours to cast their ballot.

WMC Action News 5′s Janice Broach was told that was the case at many polling places earlier in the day.

By noon, 8,000 people had voted. By 6 p.m., almost 22,000 cast their ballots.

“I came a little hoping the lines wouldn’t be as long. And what happened. They were really quick, been in and out about 25 minutes, so pretty quick,” Memphis voter Gavin Johnson said.

“I came up earlier, it was a very long line so I had to go to the post office, and I thought would do my civic duty the very first day,” Germantown voter Joey Beckford said.

At 5:30 p.m., there was a long line outside of a voting location in Collierville which was partially caused by social distancing.

“Everything was laid out very well. Took about 30 minutes from start to finish of the line. So overall, a very good experience,” Lisa Jones, a Collierville voter, said.

Jacquie Lee, another Collierville voter, voted around 5:30 p.m. and was surprised it only took about 30 minutes. She was expecting a much longer line.

“It was fast, there are several machines and the room was small– you would think it was a bit larger not knowing, going around the corner I was like ok, quick and easy,” Lee said.

And there are many precautions because of COVID-19 to make voters feel safe.

There are social distancing stickers on the floor, everyone is wearing a mask, and there is plexiglass between the voters and poll workers.

Voters get their own pen to keep and a personal stylus for voting. Nobody touches anything voters use.

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