Early voter turnout tops 86,000 in Shelby County

By , Daily Memphian Published: August 01, 2022 1:43 PM CT
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Early voting in advance of Thursday’s election day in Shelby County topped 86,000 ballots according to final turnout numbers released Monday, Aug. 1, by the Shelby County Election Commission.

The 86,637 early voters for the 14-day period ending Saturday, July 30, turned out in force for the last two days.

Saturday was the largest daily turnout of the period with 11,380 despite shorter hours than on the weekdays. It topped the previous highest turnout of 10,348 the day before on Friday.

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By the voters’ choice of state and federal primary ballots, 53,704 voted the Democratic primary ballot and 31,549 the Republican ballot with the remaining 1,384 early voters casting their ballots in the county general election only.

The nearly 87,000 early voters is approximately the same as the past two comparable elections – one in the same “big ballot” election cycle that includes dozens of judicial races for eight-year terms.

The other was in a non-big ballot year that nevertheless included the same county non-judicial offices minus the District Attorney General.

Four years ago, in the 2018 non-big ballot election, 86,002 voters cast early ballots.

In the 2014 big ballot election, the turnout was 82,403.

The 2010 election early voter turnout was the exception to the rule at 93,736.

And the 2006 big ballot turned out 78,899 early voters.

Here is the Election Commission breakdown of early voting including daily totals at each of the 26 early voting sites as well as the turnout for absentee balloting and nursing home votes, which are included in the early vote total.

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The absentee ballot total is the partial turnout. Those voting absentee have until the polls close at 7 p.m. Thursday to get their ballots delivered to the Shelby County Election Commission by mail.

Tennessee law does not permit hand delivery of absentee ballots to the Election Commission.

Democratic primary turnout in the early vote outpaced Republican turnout by 22,155 voters in a key statistic watched closely by both local parties as an indicator of what election day could be like.

The early vote has accounted for almost half of the total voter turnout in recent local elections.

A total of 477,873 cast early or absentee votes across the state during the 14-day period.

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The numbers from the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office show 293,675 of those voters picked the Republican primary ballot. Another 155,182 voted the Democratic primary ballot with the rest voting in their county general elections only.

The Shelby County early vote was by far the largest of any of the state’s 95 counties, accounting for 18.1% of the statewide turnout.

By comparison, Davidson County posted 35,429 early voters – Knox County 32,971 and Hamilton County 19,629.


August 2022 election early voting Shelby County Election Commission

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Bill Dries

Bill Dries

Bill Dries covers city and county government and politics. He is a native Memphian and has been a reporter for more than 40 years.


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