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Dozens of volunteers sort & verify high number of Shelby County absentee & mail-in ballots

20 times the normal amount of ballot applications for a primary were mailed out.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Shelby County Election Administrator Linda Phillips said things ran as planned and smoothly for the verification and scanning of mail-in and absentee ballots Thursday.

There was an unexpected hiccup around five, when election officials found out they needed to pick up around 200 mail-in ballots at the Bartlett post office. That will likely delay the scanning of all absentee and mail-in ballots by the original goal of 7:00 p.m., according to the election administrator.

Seven times as many volunteers for a typical primary - socially distanced - began work at 7:00 a.m. Thursday sorting and verifying the mail-in and absentee ballots. Those volunteers methodically looked over the envelopes, box by box and ballot by ballot.

As of Tuesday, about 16,000 of the more than 19,000 absentee and mail-in applications were mailed back.

One upside? The verified ballots are being run through one of four new scanning machines.

"There's a learning curve to this but people are catching on and they are doing a good job," Phillips said. "They are so much faster than the old ones."

As of 3:00 p.m., 30,000 Shelby County voters cast a ballot in-person.

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