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Shelby County Election Commission prepares for final day of early voting, Tuesday primary

Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 9:47 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 28, 2022 at 5:28 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The last day to vote early in the upcoming Shelby County primary is Thursday, April 28, and the county election commission is preparing for the general election on Tuesday.

We’ve reported on the vast reduction of voting precincts throughout the county over the last several months.

The election commission has run into some hiccups with their mail-in campaign to inform registered voters of their new precinct and are now now urging voters to consult their other resources on where they can cast their ballot, come Tuesday.

Monday’s election commission meeting, Shelby County Election Administrator Linda Phillips informed that of the tens of thousands of information cards on new precincts for registered voters, they’d received roughly 61,000 back.

Wednesday, Phillips said the number is now closer to 70,000.

“Primarily they are ones that the Postal Service cannot deliver,” Phillips said. “The address is not known or in some cases their forwarding order has expired. Usually, it’s a fairly good indication that that voter doesn’t live at the address anymore.”

She says the commission will now have a hotline from Friday to Tuesday with information on voters new precincts.

That number is (901) 222-1222 and will be manned Friday, Saturday, and Monday from 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and Tuesday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Phillips said it’s the easiest way to learn your new precinct location.

There will also be information on the commission’s website, shelbyvote.com, and signage and personnel at old precincts to direct voters to the new location.

What’s more is there will be only one location counting the ballots once polls close Tuesday.

In that past, 6 regional locations bore the load of vote counting, but the commission decided to only have its operation center as the lone site to alleviate perceived security concerns.

“The problem with that was the those results were then transmitted electronically,” Phillips said. “Again, they were on secure VPN lines, but the optics of it were not great.”

Results may take longer to acquire, but not by much according to Phillips.

“We have done timing, and we’ve actually put people in cars at 7:30 and driven them to the operation center to see how long it takes to get there,” Phillips said. “I think you can start to expect to see some results by 7:30, and I would think that you would have them all in by 9:30, absolutely.”

So far, just over 23,000 voters have cast their ballot early, more than 2014 but less than 2018 early voting results, Phillips said.

Though historic low turnout has taken place during county primaries, in a mid-term election year, Phillips said contingency plans are in place for high turnout.

For Thursday, MATA will be providing free rides to early voting precincts, in an effort to help voters reach the polls, including eligibility and/or area-specific services such as Ready!, Groove on Demand and MATA Plus.

As an added benefit, MATA identified which bus routes have stops situated close to early voting locations.

All information is now available on the buses and the Shelby County Election Commission website, shelbyvote.com.

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