SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Long lines wrapped around the Agricenter in Cordova as well as Mt. Zion Baptist Church in South Memphis, but that didn’t scare voters away Wednesday.
“We didn’t care how long it would take," voter Lila Diehl told FOX13. "We wanted to vote. So it’s very important to us.”
After more than an hour in line, Diehl and her husband finally walked through the doors to cast their ballot.
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“I just want to get it behind me. The sooner I get my vote cast the better I will feel about it,” said Dona Gose.
Hundreds stood in line at White Station Church of Christ in East Memphis as well, sending a clear message to politicians.
“It says to me people understand the stakes of this election and how important it is to get out and vote and voices are heard,” said Audrey Bishop.
Briarwood Church in Cordova, just 3 and a half miles from the Agricenter was slammed with people eager to vote as well.
The Shelby County Election Commission told FOX13 the best days to vote are Friday after 5 p.m. and Saturday afternoon.
The Shelby County Election Commission Administrator Linda Phillips believed the lines will start to drop off as early voting continues.
Famed Memphian Restaurateur Gina Neely just beat the deadline to vote on the first day.
Neely arrived at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church after 7:30 p.m. when the polling location closed at 8 p.m.
“Walked right in, three people ahead of me. Got it done, took care of my business and handled my business today” said Neely who wore a mask with an “I voted” sticker on it.
Thousands of other voters decided to wait until the evening after hearing of an hour plus wait at many of the 26 early voting locations across Shelby County. At the Agricenter, Shango Cooke and his wife Sherrie waited 21 minutes to vote.
Cooke told FOX13, “my wife talked about it and getting involved. We could not wait to express ourselves and vote.”
Sherrie Cooke said, “it was of value especially for our family.”
Phillips called the first-day voter turnout “spirited.”
“I just so happy to see some many people come out and vote,” said Phillips.
FOX13 asked Phillips what changes will be made to avoid long lines on November 3rd, Election Day.
She told us the commission has enough poll workers but is expected to have more check-in stations to speed up the process.
“with the massive number of absentee ballots and the huge early voting turnout, election day could be really slow,” Phillips said.
For the Cooke family, Election Day will be one to watch instead of standing in line to vote because they already have.
“For one thing the weather is beautiful and the kids are on fall break so we thought the first day was the best day for us to come as a family,” said Sherrie Cooke.
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