All 27 early voting sites now open in Shelby County

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s the first day all 27 early voting sites are open for the public in the Shelby County General Election and state and federal primaries.

A chancery court judge ordered all voting sites to open earlier than originally planned after the NAACP and Shelby County Democratic Party came forward with complaints about disenfranchisement.

Robert Morris, a Shelby County native, says he always takes part in early voting.

“It’s very important, because when you get a chance to vote, that’s great. There was a time when black people couldn’t vote, so when you get the opportunity why not?” he said.

Which is why he exercised his right on Tuesday at one of the 27 early voting sites.

Five of them opened Friday.

“It’s been a busy, busy couple of days," said election administrator Linda Phillips.

A chancery court judge ordered all the sites to open earlier than planned last week.

The decision stemmed from lawsuits filed against the election commission for disenfranchising voters in under-served communities.

Election Administrator Linda Phillips expects taxpayers to foot an overtime bill of more than $60,000 for the adjustment.

“We had to call the people who were supposed to start tomorrow to start a day earlier. We had to move some training classes up and compress some of their work.”

She says it’s too soon to evaluate early voter turnout, as many in the community are still deciding.

“I think a lot of people are going to wait until the second week," said Phillips.

Regardless of when people decide to vote, some say they’re just happy there are more places for them to do so.

“I’m glad we have more options, because a lot of people don't have an opportunity or transportation to get to voting places," said Morris.

If you do come out and vote, it’s helpful to use a stylus and check the sample ballot beforehand, because there’s a question at the end that’s good to think about before getting to the machine.

For the full list of locations and times for early voting, go here.