Heavy turnout expected for first day of early voting in Shelby County Wednesday

Heavy turnout expected for first day of early voting in Shelby County Wednesday

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Early voting in Shelby County starts Wednesday, Oct. 14 in the 2020 presidential election, and lines are expected.

The downtown precinct opens first at 8 a.m with two dozen other polling locations opening at 9 a.m. You can find a list of early voting polling locations here.

As states across the country have opened polls for early voting there have been lines. Shelby County Administrator of Elections Linda Phillips said you should expect a rush if you head to the polls Wednesday.

Voters must adhere to social distancing while waiting.

“They’ll be spaced out 6 feet apart. So there may appear to be some lines. But they should move pretty quickly. We have lots of equipment deployed,” she said.

WMC preview: What to expect as early voting begins in Tennessee

Hours have been extended from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. at most early voting sites during the week. The early voting period in Tennessee runs until Oct. 29.

Phillips said mornings tend to be busier.

She recommends visiting the downtown site after 4:30 in the afternoon or voting Friday evenings or Saturday afternoons if you want to avoid crowds.

She also suggests casting a ballot a few days into the early voting period.

“Typically the first day of early voting is a heavy one. But if voters have options, I would recommend waiting,” she said.

The Shelby County Election Commission is also testing a line management tool similar to what you’d use when you reserve a table in a restaurant. After you walk in a polling place and check in, the system would then text you when it’s your turn to vote so that you can wait in the car. We should know more about if that system will be deployed in the coming days.

The Shelby County Election Commission will monitor lines throughout the period and update voters with newsworthy information on lines by utilizing their Twitter feed.

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