MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Many of you are going to the polls Thursday, the last day of early voting in Memphis and Shelby County. Several key races are on the ballot such as District Attorney and Shelby County mayor.
WREG took a look at what’s being done to literally drive voters to the polls and show people who’s voting and where.
On the last day of early voting in Memphis and Shelby County, there are free MATA bus rides for people heading to the polls.
“If you need a ride to the poll, you can hop on the bus and go to an early voting place, vote, and make your voice heard,” Ian Randolph from the Shelby County Voter Alliance said.
To encourage more people to vote, the Shelby County Election Commission, along with Shelby County Voter Alliance and MATA teamed up to offer free rides to early voting precincts.
“The election commission is delighted to be partnering with MATA and the Shelby County Voter Alliance to provide free bus day because we want everybody to come out to vote,” said Linda Phillips, Shelby County Election Commission Administrator.
Voters were able to take the bus to Early Voting locations that are along the MATA bus routes.
“This election is an important one. We have District Attorney on the ballot, and we have the mayor’s race for the county on the ballot, county commission and a number of clerk and trustee positions,” Randolph said.
So far, more than 28,000 voters have made their voices heard.
“I am voting today, yes,” Leshundra Robinson, a Memphis voter said. “I wanted to make sure I’m one of the ones making a difference in our community.”
“It’s been a little disheartening,” John Bradley, a Memphis voter said. “I know the Election Commission changed the hours and I think discouraged voters from coming out.”
The voting precinct with the most voters is Anointed Temple of Praise in Southeast Memphis with over 2,100 people casting ballots. The Arlington Safe Room precinct had the fewest early voters with only 175.
The Shelby County Election Commission says early voting is up this year compared to in 2014, but less than in 2018.
“We want everyone to be sure exercise their right to vote. Access to the polls is a critical component to being able to exercise that right,” Bacarra Mauldin said, MATA’s Chief of Staff.
If you were hoping to early vote at the Shelby County Election Commission office on Poplar, it closed at five. However, other voting precincts throughout the city and county are open until seven tonight.