First day of early voting tops 2012 election - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

First day of early voting tops 2012 election

Long line at Bellevue Baptist Church for early voting on October 19, 2016.  (Source: Viewer) Long line at Bellevue Baptist Church for early voting on October 19, 2016. (Source: Viewer)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

More than 16,000 Shelby County citizens voted before the third presidential debate of the year happened.

The first day of early voting for the 2016 election in Tennessee was October 19. On the first day of early voting, 14,470 cast their ballots; 2,185 people submitted mail-in ballots before the first day of early voting. In total, that's 16,665 voters before Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off in their third and final debate of the year.

The long lines caused some to leave and return the following day.

"I came by and I left, and I came back today," Delois Smith said. 

Wednesday was a big day for early voting so many people came out to vote Wednesday. But, voters like Deloris Smith decided to come back on Thursday to cast her vote.

"Can you imagine what election day's going to look like?" Smith said.

Believe it or not, the turnout for early voting is not record-breaking.

In 2008, 15,884 people voted on the first day of early voting. In 2012, 13,468 people voted on the first day of early voting. The number of mail-in ballots were not available for those years.

That means there were more people to vote Wednesday than there were in the 2012 election, but it still didn't top the 2008 election when Barack Obama won his first term in the White House. 

Early voters said they chose to vote, because it is extremely important.

"Your vote counts. It's important and it makes a difference," one voter said. 

The long lines and voter turnout is something that has caused pride for many voters.

"I've never seen it like this before. I'm very proud," Smith said.

To learn where and when you can vote early in Shelby County, click here.

Most polling places will remain open until 7 p.m. on weekdays.

Copyright 2016 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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