Early voting numbers low with one week until election

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Next Thursday, voters in Memphis will decide who will fill some very important positions for the next four years — not only in the Memphis mayor’s office but for all 13 seats on the Memphis City Council, plus several more offices.

Early voting continues through Saturday, but so far, turnout has been less than impressive, something that’s disappointing to voters at the polls Thursday.

“I have studied the ballot,” Jennifer Vescovo said. “I always come in prepared and knowing how I’m going to vote.”

It didn’t take Vescovo long to early vote Thursday at Anointed Temple of Praise on Ridgeway Road.

Vescovo, who joined other voters inside the fairly busy polling place, said early voting is the best choice for her.

“Because I don’t want to take a chance on election day of something happening, and I couldn’t get here,” she said. “I’m kind of a believer that if I don’t vote, I don’t get to complain if I’m not happy with something.”

But it looks like not too many registered voters share Vescovo’s enthusiasm, and that concerns early voters.

“I’d like to encourage people to come out and vote because it really makes a difference, one vote does,” Billy Jones said.

With candidates and their supporters hustling for votes, a low turnout doesn’t work in anyone’s favor.

Early voting numbers are much lower than hoped for, even with a few spikes in the numbers and more early voting locations available.

“The last day we looked at was a little higher than we expected,” a campaign worker said. “So we’ll see. I think maybe we’ll look at our traditional 20 to 25 percent.”

The Oct. 3 election will decide Memphis’ mayor, all 13 city council seats, city court clerk and three municipal judgeships.

It’s all lot to take in for Francis Littlejohn, whose arms were loaded with campaign material Thursday and waiting just one more day to make her vote count.

“I have to study,” Littlejohn said. “I need to know what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.”

She knows she wants her vote to count.

“I came out to collect literature today, so I could take it home and study it and bring myself current and up-to-date on the candidates that are running,” she said.

The last day for early voting is Saturday. You can vote from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The downtown location at 157 Poplar Ave. will not be open Saturday.

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