Category Archives: Local Elections

Early voting begins Wednesday in some counties

Not all Tennessee counties hold primary elections, and some only have a primary for a single party. I have checked a few election commission websites, and it looks like tomorrow (Wednesday, April 16) marks the start of early voting in most places that are holding primaries. Figuring out which locations are open on which days during early voting can be a little trickier.

For example, in Maury County, the election commission office in Columbia is open every day during the period except for Good Friday. The Spring Hill site is only open on the last three days of early voting. And in Shelby County, the downtown location is available throughout the early voting period, while satellite locations open on the 25th. Some counties’ Saturday hours are shorter than others. And so on.

If you are not sure where to vote, or whether your county/party is holding a primary, contact your county election commission. The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office publishes a directory online.

If you don’t really belong to a party, you might consider voting in the primary election anyway; else you might miss a random general election, for example the Chattanooga City Court Judge positions here locally. Both judges are running unopposed, but still. Election Day for the primaries is Tuesday, May 6; on election days you vote at your precinct’s assigned polling place, and NOT at an early voting location.

The general election for every county will be held on the same day as the state primary elections: Tuesday, August 7. You definitely won’t want to miss that one, as it offers you more levers on your government than any ballot in the past eight years. And (fingers crossed) you’ll have a brand-new tool to help you prepare for it.

Supreme vote of confidence, or a game of chance(ry)

One of the most important local elections almost no one ever talks about is the Chancellor post. As an attorney friend (oxymoron? heh!) recently put it, the person who serves as chancellor becomes extremely important to you the instant your family has to determine conservatorship for an ailing loved one.

There are many other types of cases that go to Chancery Court as well, of course. From the Hamilton County Courts website:

The Chancery Court handles cases involving domestic relations, worker’s compensation, estates, trusts, contracts, review of administrative action of governmental agencies and boards, collection of delinquent taxes, guardianships, and conservatorships, dissolution of partnerships and corporations, enforcement of liens, boundary lines, breach of contract, fraud, election contests, and other matters of a civil nature.

Almost none of that sounds fun. Or, if you’re a real contract law nerd, all of it sounds fun.

Chancellor Jeff Atherton is running unopposed for re-election. But in the other division, an open seat is being contested by attorneys Pam Fleenor and Joe Manuel.

Fleenor recently nabbed an endorsement by former Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Mickey Barker, which further cements the theory that she enjoys a lot of support in the established legal community.

Manuel, however, is a former chair of the (very active) Pachyderm Club, and thus likely will hope to count on a heavy Republican activist turnout to boost his chances.

This is one race I’ll be watching closely from here on in. I trust you will too.

On the trail: Hamilton County Commission District 7

David Morton spent some time listening to the three Republican candidates vying to replace outgoing Commissioner Larry L. Henry. Annexation is the hot topic in this local race, with much of the focus on past efforts to oppose being added to the City of Chattanooga. Perry Perkins, Phil Smartt, and Sabrena Turner are the GOP candidates.

Two Democrats, Don Brown and Ezra Maize, also qualified for the May 6, 2014 primary elections. According to online election commission records, former Chattanooga city councilman John Taylor appears to have withdrawn his bid, along with Pat Fountain, another Democrat who had pulled a petition.

The winner of each primary will be on the Aug. 7, 2014 county general election ballot.

Henry is running for Circuit Court Clerk.

CLICK HERE to see all candidates for office in Hamilton County.