The busiest voting locations for the Nashville vice mayoral runoff election were — perhaps unsurprisingly — the home bases of the two candidates running.
As early voting wrapped up over the weekend, the leading polling places were in Green Hills, the former district of councilman Jim Shulman, and Bellevue, which is represented by acting Vice Mayor Sheri Weiner.
Turnout was substantially lower elsewhere, even at locations that are usually busier, like the Bordeaux library. Poll officer George Dunn said the good news was that having only one item on the ballot means it takes less than a minute to fill it out.
“Turnout — it’s been light, compared to other elections," he said. "I’m not sure what it is with voters for this election anyway. It could be that we’ve had a lot of elections.”
For residents in Bordeaux and other parts of District 1, this is their fifth election this year, due to an extra runoff for their Metro council member. For other Nashville residents, this is the fourth election of 2018.
Even with a slight uptick in early voting on Saturday, 15,515 people have cast ballots so far, which is 4.18 percent of eligible voters. In the past couple of years in Nashville, early voting has accounted for about half of total turnout, and this would line up with the turnout predicted by election administrator Jeff Roberts: 25,000 to 30,000 total voters.
The two contenders are Sheri Weiner, who's been Acting Vice Mayor since David Briley was sworn in as mayor, and at-large councilman Jim Shulman. Both have years of public service on their resumes, and both describe themselves as fiscally conservative and socially progressive.
Librarian Marva Bryant, who lives in South Nashville, says this runoff was unusual to her because the candidates weren’t flooding residents with information. But she still saw turning out as a duty.
“So I read a few articles — news articles — and went to their council member pages. I just had to go search and see who’s running and then look it up on the internet," she said.