Steady stream of early voters Saturday in Shelby County

Updated: Oct. 17, 2020 at 5:16 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Early voting continued Saturday in Tennessee, and steady lines of voters continued showing up at polling places across Shelby County.

Early voter turnout is being compared to levels in 2008. Some records have already been broken.

Rosa Henderson of Memphis says she never misses an election.

“A lot of people went through a lot for me to have this privilege, so I don’t take it lightly,” Henderson said.

Henderson said she wasn’t about to let the pandemic get in her way this year.

“I got my gloves. I got my mask. I’m ready,” Henderson said.

Richard Terry shares Henderson’s enthusiasm. He’s been a voter since the 1960s.

“It’s your right to do it. You have a right to vote. You need to exercise it,” Terry said.

Terry and Henderson are among tens of thousands of voters who’ve cast their ballots early in Shelby County.

The Shelby County Election Commission says nearly 27,000 voters showed up for the first day of early voting on Wednesday, the highest first-day early voting total ever.

On Thursday, another record was set for the highest number of early voters in a single day, more than 27,000. That smashed the old record set in 2008, the election commission says.

The election commission said by Saturday afternoon more than 14,000 voters had cast their ballots that day.

“In my lifetime since I’ve been a voter, I would say this is the most important election,” John Bradley with the Equity Alliance, a Tennessee nonprofit that encourages people to vote, said.

Amber Akins, who’s also with the Equity Alliance, says it’s not just candidates bringing people to the polls, but issues like public health.

“I think the pandemic has been the reason why we’ve had so much early voting turnout,” Akins said.

Regardless of what inspires an individual person, voters say it’s important everyone who can vote exercises their right.

Early voting in Tennessee runs through Oct. 29.

To find an early voting location nearest you in Shelby County, visit

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