MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Voters in Tennessee and Arkansas will be heading to the polls on Super Tuesday, along with those in 12 other states. The Shelby County Election Commission said it is their hope there will be minimal lines at precincts Tuesday because the ballots for each party take roughly a minute to complete.
Work was brisk Monday at the Shelby County Election Commission's OC Pleasant Operations Center on Nixon Drive, as poll workers picked up poll books, ballot boxes, paperwork and more to prepare to open the county's 166 voting precincts Tuesday morning.
Administrator of Elections Linda Phillips said in a typical election 60% to 65% of voters cast ballots early. In a presidential preference primary, it’s more like 30%.
“Most do wait for Election Day simply because if you voted last week and your candidate dropped out over the weekend, you’re done,” she said.
Tennessee does not allow a voter to invalidate a vote once it’s cast, so if you’re a Democratic voter who punched Tom Steyer, Pete Buttigieg, or Amy Klobuchar during the early voting period you’re out of luck. All three have dropped out of the contest since Joe Biden won the primary in South Carolina on Saturday night.
“There’s a good reason to vote early if you can’t get to the polls on Election Day, but otherwise you vote early and things change the way they have been, you’re stuck with that early vote,” said Michael Nelson, WMC Action News 5 political analyst.
Nelson said Biden, buoyed by his South Carolina showing, will likely perform strongly in southern states like Tennessee and Arkansas. That would set up a delegate showdown with Sanders.
Top names still in the hunt include Biden, Sanders, Mike Bloomberg, and Elizabeth Warren.
“In many ways, it’s already clarified into a two-person race,” he said. “It’s Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.”
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) will slightly impact election operations in Shelby County on Tuesday. Though there are no confirmed cases in Tennessee, Phillips said the Shelby County Election Commission spoke with the Shelby County Health Department and is distributing wipes in precinct bags.
“All of our polling places will have sanitizing wipes, and the poll workers will be wiping off the screens and the styluses on a regular basis,” she said.
Polls in Arkansas are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Poll opening times vary in Tennessee by county, and you can find information from the Secretary of State’s office here. Polls in Shelby County open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.