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Big decision, easy process on MCS vote

Shall the Administration of the Memphis City School System, a Special School District, be transferred to the Shelby County Board of Education? Two boxes asking voters “Yes” or “No” are immediately below. by Tony Jones
Special to the Tri-State Defender

The ballot is exceedingly simple:

Shall the Administration of the Memphis City School System, a Special School District, be transferred to the Shelby County Board of Education?


City Council Chairman Myron Lowery was among those who wasted no time registering their votes on whether to transfer administration of Memphis City Schools to Shelby County Schools. (Photos by Earl Stanback)


Southern Heritage Classic founder Fred Jones takes advantage of day one for early voting on the referendum to change the administration of Memphis City Schools.

Two boxes asking voters “Yes” or “No” are immediately below. It takes less than one minute – once you are verified – to participate in an election that many view as the most important ballot issue in a generation.

Early voting for the March 8 special election began Wednesday at the Election Commission office downtown at 157 Poplar Ave. and ends March 3. Voting at 15 satellite sites throughout the city begins on Saturday.

“The early indicators are that we are going to have a good turnout,” Shelby County Election Commission Chair, Bill Giannini, said late Wednesday afternoon.

The setting was the Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting at its offices on Nixon Street near the Penal Farm. Compared to some recent sessions, there was a noticeable calm.

“I saw numbers about 1:30 or 2 o’clock and we had 130 people that had voted. That’s actually pretty surprising,” said Giannini. “In the last citywide election we had about 175 for the entire first day of early voting. We may not be about to set a new record but it’s certainly surprising to me.”

Given recent election snafus, Giannini was asked if additional steps are being taken to assure a transparent process.

“We’re trying to…double check and triple check to make sure we have everything right. The staff has done a great job to be thorough, and people need to be more appreciative of their work,” said Giannini.

“We’ve learned a lot during the past year, but I think we’re in good shape. Great weather. Downtown presents some challenges with parking, but based on what I’ve seen of the numbers today I think we’re going to have a better turnout than most people expected.”

Voters who make their way to the downtown voting site will have to negotiate a meandering trail due to remodeling of the lobby, arriving at a smallish room where the staff awaits their vote.

Voters in District 98 have an additional page to the ballot because of the uncontested election for state representative. No Republican is seeking the position and Democrat Antonio Parkinson, who won the primary in January, began representing the district in Nashville after he was appointed to the position by the Shelby County Commission.

A list of voting sites and hours are available at www.shelbyvote.com, the Election Commission’s website.


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