Shelby County preparing as Tennessee election day approaches

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — The countdown is on as there’s three days until election day in Tennessee.

The final preparations are happening, and the Shelby County Election Commission administrator said an extraordinary number of people voted early or by absentee, but some people might have a wait at the polls.

“Every election is important, but this is a really good dress rehearsal,” Shelby County Administrator of Elections Linda Phillips said.

Phillips said her team is ready for election day on Thursday. It will also give them an even better idea what to expect for the November election after an unusual August.

“In a typical August election like this, we would have 1,000 absentees,” Phillips said. “We sent out 19,440.”

When it comes to voting early, Phillips said typically in August, 32,000-33,000 people vote early, but this time, they had around 60,000.

“So I don’t know,” Phillips said. “I don’t know if a lot of people will turn out on Election Day or they decided to go early.”

But she has a message for some voters who might show up in-person to vote provisional. 

“A provisional ballot is normally for when a voter thinks they are registered, but we don’t have a record of it,” Phillips said.

Sometimes that happens. It’s an all-paper process. Voters fill out other forms besides just a ballot.

“It has impact here for this election because people who applied to vote absentee cannot vote in-person, except on a provisional ballot, so if their ballot was late, or they’re concerned about it, they do have the right to come in on Election Day and vote a provisional ballot,” Phillips said.

She said that is a lengthy process that takes about 20 minutes, so make sure you have the time. 

If you have an absentee ballot still, it cannot be delivered in-person so you will need to send it in some kind of expedited form.

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