Early Voting: The Surge

Early voting totals seemed to take a jump once the final tally was posted today at the Shelby County Election Commission.

What had seemed like a vote total that would maybe top 45,000 in the race for Memphis mayor has jumped to a total of 49,288.

Here’s why:

The Election Commission has been posting daily totals on its website, www.shelbyvote.com, and had been separating the early vote totals in the Memphis Mayor’s race from those in the pair of primaries for State Senate District 31.

The problem, according to local Election Administrator Richard Holden, is some of the voters in the State Senate district are also city residents eligible to vote in the Memphis Mayor’s race. District 31 takes in parts of Germantown and Cordova. The Cordova precincts include areas within the city of Memphis and areas in unincorporated Shelby County.

Of the approximately 6,500 voters who participated in the two uncontested state Senate primaries, Holden said only 631 voted in the primaries only. The rest also voted in the Memphis mayor’s race.

Keeping in mind that the turnout numbers are unofficial, subtracting the 631 voters leaves 48,655 voters in the mayor’s race. That amounts to 11.5 percent of the 423,049 voters in Memphis.

The Election Commission statistics show everything but who the voters chose from the 25 candidate field. By those statistics, 49.8 percent of the early voters were black and 28.7 percent were white. The remaining 21.5 percent were “other”, a category that includes voters who chose not to reveal their race on voter registration forms. Most of the early voters, 62.7 percent, were women.

The statistics also show which election day precincts the early voters live in. In the precinct breakdown, the highest precinct early voter turnout was in Glenview. 27.9 percent of the 1,500 voters in precinct 31-04 cast early votes. Voters in the precinct vote at Glenview Community Center on election day. The community center was also an early voting site.

The East Memphis precinct, 56-03, which votes at White Station Church of Christ, another early voting site, had a 22.8 percent turnout in early voting.

Precinct 75-05, which votes at Lakeview Elementary School, posted a 22.3 percent turnout.

And 21.2 percent of the voters at the East Memphis 57-00, which votes at Independent Presbyterian Church, voted early.

Our plans for election night include tweets as the vote totals roll in. We expect to have the early vote totals at around 8 pm Thursday evening and we’ll post those results on The Daily News website. We’ll tweet more as the election day totals come in. And look for a recap on the website once all of the unofficial totals are in.

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