Shelby County Election Commission prepares for Election Day

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Election Day is just one day away, and this time on Tuesday, 200 people will be counting nearly 30,000 absentee ballots from Shelby County. The bulk of that work will happen at Fedexforum.

The election commission expects to count 25,000 of those absentee ballots at the forum, to put that in perspective there were only 6,000 absentee ballots to count in 2016.

Linda Phillips, Shelby County Election Commission Administrator, said they are ready.

“We’re excited,” Phillips said. “We’re able to socially distance in this space which with the number of people we need to count ballots was not going to be possible in the operations center.

It is the first time the election commission will use the space to count absentee ballots, but it is necessary given the volume of ballots that need to be counted. Phillips said they mailed out 29,000 absentee ballots this year.


Bipartisan teams of two will begin the process of counting first thing Tuesday morning.

“We’ll start at 7 a.m.,” Phillips said. “And I really don’t know what time we’ll be done. A lot of that depends on how many ballots come in on Election Day.”

One thing that will help them during this process are eight new ballot scanners equipped with updated technology. Phillips said these new machines are very fast and really work extremely well.

As far as the absentee ballots coming in on Election Day, those will be counted at the operations center. If you are concerned your ballot would not arrive by the 7 p.m. deadline.

“If someone has decided after they look on the tracker and see their absentee ballot has not arrived, they can vote with a provisional ballot, but they will need to allow plenty of time,” Phillips said.

There will also be a heavy security presence at the Fedexforum. Homeland security will take the lead and only authorized people will be allowed inside.

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