Early voting data shows more women voting than men in Shelby Co. - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Early voting data shows more women voting than men in Shelby Co.

(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 archives) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 archives)

Early voting has officially closed in Tennessee.

Since early voting started in October, almost 200,000 people rushed to polling places in Shelby County to cast an early ballot. That means approximately 10,000 more people voted early than in 2012.

Based on the data from the Election Commission, it appears the state will be several thousand votes short of the early voting turnout record set in the 2008 election. However, it does look like this will be the second biggest early voting turnout year. 

The majority of people who have cast their vote early have been women over 35 years old. 

"It's extremely important to vote all the time. This time more so than ever," Alisa Bowman said.

Bowman thinks it's more important for African Americans to vote than ever before because experts said African Americans could have a large role in deciding the election.

"I don't think many people realize, and a lot of people are very apathetic, because they believe it doesn't matter if they vote or not, that they gonna do what they're gonna do, which is not true," Bowman said.

According to early voting demographics, 30.7% of votes cast have been from African Americans. That would suggest a low percentage of the African American population has voted. But, Elections Administrator Linda Phillips said the numbers are misleading because only 31% of people checked African American when registering to vote, despite the African American voting age population being significantly higher. Forty-four percent didn't check a race at all.

"When nearly  half of your population doesn't indicate a race, I don't think you can draw a lot of really good conclusions from the data," Phillips said.

Early voting numbers are typically higher in the suburbs, where there are generally more white voters. Turnout on election day tends to be higher in the city, where there are more black voters. 

Now that early voting is closed, polls will not reopen until Election Day on Tuesday, November 8. All polling locations will be open at that time.

In Arkansas, early voting ends Monday.

Click here for our election guide.

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