MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Voters at the Holmes Road precinct in southeast Shelby County found their polling place locked when they arrived at 7 a.m. Tuesday, causing a wait of nearly an hour.
Danette Stokes made her way to the polls at 7 a.m. on Super Tuesday but was locked out and had to wait 45 minutes for just one voting machine to be set up.
“It’s extremely frustrating because I’m doing my due diligence to vote and should have the right to vote on election day,” she said.
The problem was due to a longtime officer of elections who overslept, admininistrator of elections Linda Phillips said.
For security reasons, that poll worker was the only one who was allowed to have a key to the door.
“The officer overslept and then panicked when he got here,” Phillips said. “Voters started voting 45 minutes after seven o’clock and it was really 8:10 before they had everything set up. They did have at least one machine and poll booth set up at 7:45 so people could start voting.”
Phillips said state law requires polling places to be open 10 hours and close at 7 p.m. — this site would be open 11 hours and 15 minutes, she said.
“In talking to the officer now running the polling place, this is very busy in the afternoon and in general the mornings are slower, so I don’t think any voters will be too badly inconvenienced,” Phillips said.