Sanford: Local election = Local voting controversy

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on the latest voting controversy.

If there is a local election, you can bet there will also be controversy involving the Shelby County election commission. Voting is now underway in the Nov. 14th runoff for two city council seats in Districts 1 and 7. 

But the commission is being criticized for opening just one location for the first seven days of early voting. That location is in the James Meredith County Office Building Downtown. And supporters of District 7 candidate Michalyn Easter-Thomas contend that site favors her opponent, incumbent councilman Berlin Boyd.

Five other early voting sites will open Friday, and early voting will end on Saturday, November 9th.  The only excuse election commission officials are giving for opening just one early voting site is that’s the way they’ve always done it, which is not sitting well at all with the critics.

The sad fact is, turnout so far has been anemic at best, and will likely stay that way. Through Tuesday, only 161 votes had been cast in both council races. That speaks to the need to revisit instant runoff voting, which would eliminate the need for a mid-November election day that no one cares about.

Make no mistake, these two council races are vitally important because the outcome will speak volumes about how some voters feel about the current council. We already know how they feel about the election commission. And it’s not good. And that’s my point of view.

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