Shelby County election officials prepare for unprecedented Election Day

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Early voting is officially over in Shelby County, and the election commission reports more than half of eligible voters participated. Now it’s time to prepare for Election Day.

There’s always extra excitement during a presidential election, but this year is unprecedented for more reasons than one.

“I’ve been doing this 7 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Suzanne Thompson, Shelby County Election Commission Spokesperson. “The excitement and just mood of everyone wanting to be involved in this election is fantastic. It’s what we live for.”

Early voting was a good indication of that. The election commission reports more than 53% of Shelby County voters participated in early voting. That’s a nearly 35% increase from four years ago.

Now begins the work for election day as workers prepare electronic poll books to ensure people who voted early don’t vote again on Election Day. They’re also getting materials ready for polling sites which include COVID safety supplies.

“We have safety measures in place to keep you safe and our poll workers safe. We want you to come vote in person,” Thompson said.

Also Tuesday, around 30,000 absentee ballots will be counted at FedEx Forum with heightened security protocols.

“Homeland Security has taken over the security at the FedEx Forum, which we are really glad with,” Thompson said. “They’re going to sweeping for bombs and doing other extraordinary security measures.”

Thanks to state cares act funding, the election commission will have eight new ballot scanners, bringing the total to 12. It should help move that process along.

“We’re hoping to be done by 8pm, but there are no guarantees on that,” Thompson said. “We can say what’s usual but there is no usual now.”

You must have a photo ID to vote Tuesday.

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