Analyzing Provisional Ballots from November

No ID? You can still vote a Provisional Ballot

Sunday, Shelby County Elections Administrator, Linda Phillips sent out a report of provisional ballots in the November 2018 election.

The report shows how voters issued provisional ballots voted in the election.

To date, Shelby County has approved 999 provisional ballots in the November 2018 election.

The tally of these votes are interesting in a couple of ways, even though they don’t ultimately alter any results of the election.

Democrats Overwhelmingly Won Provisionals

In state elections, Democrats overwhelmingly won the provisional count, even in districts that were overwhelmingly Republican.

Below are the provisional counts added to the TN Governor race. The additions don’t really change the outcome, but it shows that provisionals outpaced other ballots.

TN Governor Initial Count % Provisional Count % Total %
Bill Lee 105,369 36.7% 228 23.4% 105,597 36.6%
Karl Dean 173,699 60.5% 700 71.9% 174,399 60.5%
Others 8,168 2.8% 45 4.6% 8,213 2.8%

This trend held true in a more hotly contested race. The TN Senate District 31 was, perhaps, the closest state legislative race in Shelby County. While the addition of provisional ballots didn’t bridge the gap for Salinas, it did narrow it somewhat.

TN Senate 31 Initial Count % Provisional Count % Total %
Brian Kelsey 40,313 51.3% 89 34% 40,402 51.2%
Gabby Salinas 38,193 48.6% 173 66% 38,366 48.7%
Others 63 .1% 0 0% 63 .1%

Generally, this trend held true for other races that featured Democratic candidates taking on long-time GOP strongholds.

Interesting Deviation in Referendums

While most of the provisional votes broke down as expected, one area did show an unexpected split: the three City of Memphis referendums.

Here are the breakdowns:

5676 – Term Limits Initial Count % Provisional Count % Total %
For 67,220 39.8% 310 51.8% 67,530 39.9%
Against 101,607 60.2% 289 48.2% 101,896 60.1%
5669 – Instant Runoff Voting Initial Count % Provisional Count % Total %
For 62,316 37.4% 268 45.4% 62,584 37.4%
Against 104,431 62.6% 322 54.6% 104,753 62.6%
5677 – Ending Runoffs Initial Count % Provisional Count % Total %
For 77,743 46% 327 54.9% 78,070 46%
Against 91,183 54% 269 45.1% 91,452 54%

There are two really interesting items in these results:

  1. Provisional voters generally broke with the initial count on two of the three ballot issues.
  2. While IRV didn’t do as well with provisional voters, it was the only issue defeated by those voters.

Looks to me like people really want IRV.

Of course, there’s no way to know what impact the City Council’s last second $40,000 cash infusion for the passage of these three ballot issues.

Regardless of the outcome, the City Council should absolutely disclose what money was spent, and with whom.

A Note About Provisional Ballots

Provisional ballots are given to: voters whose identity cannot be confirmed (no appropriate ID), voters who believe they are registered but cannot be found on the voter rolls, or have both issues.

All three types of provisional ballots go to a Provisional Counting Board. That board approves or rejects the ballots based on meeting ID or registration requirements.

The count of provisional ballots will be included in the final election results when the vote is certified. The Shelby County Election Commission is meeting tonight, November 26th at 4pm. It is unknown if they will certify the election tonight. As of this writing, they have not published an agenda for this evening’s meeting.

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