Voters head to the polls Thursday in Memphis municipal election

Final push before Election Day

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Voting precincts across the city of Memphis will open at 7 a.m. on Thursday for the city’s municipal election. Wednesday, the Shelby County Election Commission and candidates for office made their final pushes toward Election Day.

Wednesday at the Shelby County Election Commission’s operations center on Nixon Drive, poll workers were hard at work picking up materials in preparation for Election Day Thursday. The roughly 1,000 machines used had already been delivered to the 116 precincts.

And officials said before you head out to vote, you should make sure you live in Memphis city limits and are eligible to vote. Your mailing address could be deceiving.

“People who have a mailing address of Memphis may not technically live inside the city,” said Linda Phillips, Administrator of Elections, “The post office determines your address. We have a lot of people with Bartlett addresses that live inside the city of Memphis.”

The race getting the most publicity is at the top of the ticket.

Incumbent Mayor Jim Strickland wants voters to keep him in city hall for another four years. In recent days, his opponents have criticized Strickland, though, over an ad that touts he’s hired 450 police officers since taking office. While true, given department attrition the net gain is 28 officers. Strickland contends he fixed a failing MPD hiring process.

In a Facebook post Wednesday morning, former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton tried to rally his supporters to the polls to elect him to the job he held for 17 years. A video his campaign posted Monday said he would not have taken down Memphis’ Confederate Monuments.

That drew the ire of Shelby County Commissioner and Mayoral Candidate Tami Sawyer, who wrote on Twitter, “Bragging that you wouldn’t have removed the Confederate statues really shows how out of touch you are.”

Sawyer, too, took to social media to turn out support for her voters Wednesday. Last month, Sawyer had to address voters on Facebook Live after controversial old tweets surfaced in which she used anti-disability and homophobic language.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday.

You may recall in 2015 returns in the municipal election were delayed until midnight because of a database problem. Administrator of Elections Linda Phillips said that incident was before her time but advised they’re expecting a smoother night Thursday than four years ago.

Phillips said pursuant to state law they cannot begin to release early voting and absentee returns until the last voter in line at the polls has voted, a process that can be time consuming, if it involved casting a provisional ballot.

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