TN early voting increased 11 percent from 2014

TN early voting increased 11 percent from 2014
Updated: Jul. 31, 2018 at 6:00 PM CDT
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SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - Early voting numbers in Shelby County are up when compared to this same election four years ago.

The county also outperformed Davidson County in early voting turnout.

Thursday, voters will head to the polls to make choices in the general election for county offices. It's also the primary for state and federal races.

"I think we are seeing some momentum," said Pastor Earle Fisher from the organization Up the Vote 901.

Fisher said some grassroots voter engagement strategies are showing positive signs. The initiative is aimed at breaking voter apathy and getting more people to the polls.

Early voting in Shelby County ended Saturday. Shelby County saw an increase of more than 3,000 voters from 2014 to 2018.

"We are hopeful this is a glimpse into what we'll be seeing in the next several years which is constant increases in every election," Fisher said.

Statewide early voting turnout was up 11 percent with Shelby and Haywood counties siding with Democrats; Tipton, Fayette, and Dyer favoring Republicans; and Lauderdale County is basically a dead heat with 10 votes separating the two parties.

"The thing that drives turnout primarily is voters' interest in the candidates," Shelby County Election Administrator Linda Phillips said.

At the Shelby County Election Commission, final preparations for Election Day are underway.

At stake countywide Thursday are seats for county mayor, sheriff, clerks, and commissioners.

Phillips said there's an easy explanation for why Shelby County outperformed Nashville's Davidson County in early voting.

"We are a larger county. It's much more convenient to early vote [in Shelby County than in Davdison County]. There's only 10 early voting locations in Davidson County; we have 27," Phillips said.

Phillips said in a primary election, if voters are undecided they typically wait until Election Day to vote.

That theory may apply in this case, since the Republican race for Tennessee governor is extremely contentious and among four widely recognized candidates.

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