Shelby County residents continue record-setting early voting despite rain, lines

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After a record-breaking first day of early voting, plenty of people still turned out to the polls to exercise their rights for a second day Thursday. 

The Shelby County Election Commission said even more people voted Thursday afternoon than Wednesday, with a total of 43,802 turning out so far.

With a few minutes left to vote Thursday, the election commission said voters had “smashed the one day early voting record with 27,095 having voted so far.” The previous highest total was the last day of early voting in November 2008.

A chart below, produced by the Shelby County Election Commission, shows how early voting on Wednesday compared to previous years. You can see a major spike this year.

The Secretary of State’s office said more than 273,000 Tennesseans cast their ballot Wednesday. That’s 91% higher than the first day of early voting in 2016 and 120% higher than 2012. 

Armed with umbrellas, inconvenient weather didn’t deter voters in Whitehaven.

You know what? I’m not worried about the rain,” said voter Nels Johnson. “We gotta do what we gotta do.” 

Lines were shorter at Greater Middle Baptist Church in Parkway Village, a 20-minute drive away. The process is a a brighter moment on a dreary day. 

For Carla Maitland, it’s an empowering process.  

“I am ready to go,” Maitland said. “I have voted, and I am woman, hear me roar!” 

It’s a record voters are proud to be part of.

“This is the most important election that I’ve witnessed,” said early voter Eric Conway.

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