MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - In spite of the many problems at the polls, voters turned out in droves for early voting over the last two weeks.
The number of early voters in Shelby County dwarfed the number in August of 2008. It's a trend that's happening across Tennessee.
More than 300,000 voters across the state cast early ballots. That's nearly 60 percent more than the last election in 2008.
62,000 people voted early in Shelby County. That's roughly 24,000 more than in 2008.
If there's anything helping drive voters to the polls, it's the controversy over the Shelby County/Memphis City Schools merger.
“It's a very, very emotional and important issue in the suburbs and there's no question that that's taking its toll on increasing the numbers,” said political strategist Susan Adler Thorp.
Thorp wasn't surprised to hear early voting numbers swelled. The number of people who picked up Republican or Democratic primary ballots was nearly split at 49 percent. Republicans had a slight edge by just a couple hundred voters.
“It tells me that the people who mostly live in the city - Democrats mostly live in the city - they're just as interested in some of the races that are outside the school question as people in the suburbs are interested in the schools,” Thorp said.
Many were worried the new voter ID law would keep a large number of Democrats from the polls.
“We have had very few people vote with that provisional ballot so it would appear at least among participating voters that that's really a non-issue,” said Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Robert Meyers.
Meyers says the high turnout among early voters will probably make for a busy election day, one that many will be watching since errors mounted during early voting.
Hundreds of voters were given wrong ballots. The errors stem from the latest round of legislative redistricting.