Although more Democratic ballots were cast overall by Shelby County voters -- 52,645 (56.2 percent) to 40,347 (43.0 percent) -- Republicans showed enormous improvement in participation over recent elections, especially the 2008 elections, when only 35 percent of Shelby County voters supported the Republican presidential ticket.
Of the 30 best-performing precincts by percentage turnout, only three had more Democratic ballots; of the 24 best-performing precincts by total number of participating voters, only four had more Democratic ballots.
Also encouraging for Republicans and disappointing for Democrats -- turnout among registered white voters jumped and among registered black voters dropped compared with recent election cycles, considerably so when compared with the 2008 numbers Democrats were pointing to as proof that they could sweep countywide offices.
In all, 38,350 registered white voters participated, comprising 40.9 percent of all voters, compared with 31,525 registered black voters (33.6 percent) and 23,861 (25.5 percent) of those registered as "other," a category that includes a large number of recently registered voters who do not disclose race. Put another way, 21.3 percent of registered white voters participated compared with 15.2 percent of registered black voters and 11.2 percent in the "other" category.
That's the reverse of trends from the 2008 presidential election, when registered black voters comprised 40.7 percent of the early votes and white registered voters only 29.1 percent. In early voting in the 2008 August election, 67.6 percent of voters cast Democratic ballots vs. 31.6 percent Republican, and black registered voters comprised 43.2 percent of the early turnout vs. 37.5 percent white registered voters.
Early-voting sets new August record
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