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Early voters’ numbers hint at Election Day turnout

By , Daily Memphian Updated: November 07, 2022 11:40 AM CT | Published: November 07, 2022 11:26 AM CT
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More than 120,000 Shelby County residents voted early or absentee in the November 2022 election.

The number, which is 20.4% of the county’s 588,508 registered voters, lands between the county’s early voter turnouts in 2014 and 2018. The early and absentee ballots — cast over the 14-day period that ended Thursday, Nov. 3 — also are likely a forecast of the overall voter turnout.

Early voter turnout has either exceeded election day turnout or come close to being half of the total vote in recent years.

Political Roundup: Early voting, Cohen & Kustoff, Memphis mayor’s race

The turnout for early voting ahead of Tuesday’s election day is closer to the 2014 total turnout than 2018, which was an outlier in its total turnout.

The 51.1% total turnout in 2018 was the first turnout by a majority of Shelby County voters in a nonpresidential general election since 1994.

Nationally, the two midterms marked the party not in the White House becoming the majority in Congress —Republicans in 1994 and Democrats in 2018.

50 voters get wrong ballots at Berclair early voting site

The 34.3% local turnout in 2014 was in line with recent previous midterm elections of one-third to 40% — higher than primary elections, which draw the lowest percentage turnouts in the county, but less than the majority that consistently turns out to vote in presidential general elections.

The November 2018 election ballot in Shelby County featured statewide races for Tennessee Governor and the U.S. Senate with no incumbent seeking re-election in either race.

Political Roundup: Early voting hits 20,000; Jason Martin campaigns in Collierville

The early voter turnout of 188,668 in that edition of the mid-term election cycle accounted for 63.7% of the total turnout of 295,810.

The November 2014 election ballot was topped by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam seeking a second term and Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander running for what would be his last six-year term in the Senate.

The early voter turnout of 84,723 eight years ago accounted for 45.6% of the total turnout of 185,528.

The 2022 edition of the same election cycle is topped by a bid for a second term by Republican Governor Bill Lee, who is being challenged by Democratic nominee Dr. Jason Martin. There is no U.S. Senate race.

The early voter turnout for the November ballot is more difficult to read in terms of what the results will be for Democrats and Republicans because there are no primaries on the ballot.

By the 26 early voting sites, turnout was higher at voting sites in the Republican suburbs — namely Bartlett, Collierville and Germantown — although early voters can cast their ballots at any of the sites regardless of where they live.

Early voting opens with new voting system and new trends

The higher suburban turnout could indicate voters in those areas are turning out for municipal elections in five of the county’s six suburban towns and cities.

The only contested race for a suburban mayor will see Bartlett elect the successor to retiring mayor Keith McDonald.

Registration deadline shows changes in county’s voter demographics

Germantown and Collierville have hotly contested races for aldermen and school board.

The 120,561 early and absentee voters over 14 days accounted for 13.6% of the statewide early voter turnout of 882,310.


Nov 8 2022 election early voter turnout

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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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