After Big Early-Vote Totals, is Election Day Turnout Down? 

We all know by now that record crowds early-voted in Memphis and Shelby County -- 254,359 or 39.1% of total registered voters. Two on-site reports that have reached the Flyer -- one from a Republican candidate, another from a Democratic activist -- indicate that Election Day voting is down, however. Following is the Democrat's email to his network:

"VOTER TURNOUT IN MEMPHIS IS DRAGGING EVERYWHERE. There are no lines, no wait times. I was at Miss Blvd Christian Church at 12:30pm and it was not only slow, it was EMPTY.

"Early Voting has brought us to a tipping point--if we vote in the next four hours in the numbers we need, we'll flip the state. If not, we'll have nobody but ourselves to blame.

"I'm worried what is happening all over the country is happening in Memphis, just as we feared: Early Voting and escalating polls have made us overconfident, lazy, and COMPLACENT. This is the same plateau effect that has cost us so dearly in the past...."

Our Republican informant also mentioned light voting in the inner city but reported crowded polls in Cordova and East Memphis.

The two anecdotal reports together, if ultimately corroborated, conform to a pattern established in recent years whereby early voting has drawn proportionately larger numbers of African-American voters, who are mainly Democratic, and Election Day voting has seen proportionately larger numbers of white Republicans turn out.

All of this is F.Y.I., Memphis and Shelby County - whether you're Democrats hoping to hold on to an indicated edge in early voting or Republicans wanting to catch up or just voters wanting to see a full turnout. There's still time to cast your ballot. (And apparently no humongous lines in your way.)

--Jackson Baker


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