I’ve gotten some energetic feedback about my latest Nooga.com column. One person called it a “disgrace.” Judge for yourself.
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.
Maury County Republican Party chair, Patricia Junkin, writes that the party’s decision to hold primary elections for county offices in 2014 will not cause certain fiscal problems, as apparently has been alleged.
Local GOP organizations around the state this year are wrestling with the decision of whether to adopt primaries (if they don’t, like Hamilton County, already hold them). It’s as if they all got the same memo.
Several local parties have moved to adopt primaries, but Montgomery County (home of Clarksville) Republicans overwhelmingly voted not to hold partisan elections for local office.
There should be a statewide tally available after the deadlines have passed, and I’ll post it when I find it.
Over at Nooga.com, I declare the conditions under which closed primaries would be acceptable.
Let me be clear up front: I have no problem with closed primaries….
Select from those who have been granted entrance only the purest of the pure, the mirror for bona fides, the über-partisan. Rest in the knowledge that there has been no meddling by interlopers, miscreants or rhinoceroses.
There are just two little matters that stand in the way of this dream, this heavenly state where only zealots nominate only Zeleniks.
Andrea Zelinski lays down the facts about primary voting in Tennessee at TNReport.
Tennessee taxpayers will fork over an estimated $4.5 million this week administering elections for the two major parties.
But as a matter of state law, the decision as to who can and cannot participate in the partisan festivities is ultimately left to party officials and not the government. For that matter, there’s no guarantee the majority will get to decide the winners and losers.
UPDATE 10:46 a.m. EDT: Corrected spelling of Andrea Zelinski’s name.