MEMPHIS, Tenn. —  This year’s election is on pace to have a higher turnout than the mayoral elections of the past eight years.

One by one, lines were moving Friday afternoon as voters waited to cast their ballot, beating the September 30 deadline for early voting.

There were more than 5,000 early voters at Second Baptist Church. So far, East Memphis has the highest voter turnout.

“We are now ahead of 2015 and 2019 in terms of people who have voted at this point,” Shelby County Election Administrator Linda Phillips said.

As of Thursday, more than 41,000 people had early voted. That’s compared to 39,000 in 2015 and 2019. But Phillips says some folks are still figuring it out.

“When I do my elevator test or ask in the grocery store, a lot of people haven’t made up their minds and voted yet,” Phillips said.

She says that a part of that decision-making process is the long list of mayoral candidates. There are 17 candidates on the ballot vying to replace current Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

“I think a lot of people are having trouble learning about 17 candidates. I know I did,” Phillips said.

MATA is offering free bus rides to election polls Friday to “boost voter awareness” across the city. You can vote early until 7 p.m. Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.