Comments I have heard regarding the upcoming election indicate some confusion about who can vote in this primary.
The election is a primary to determine who the Democratic and Republican candidates will be for countywide offices in Anderson County. This is an “open primary,” which means a voter does not register as a Democratic or Republican and can choose to vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary.
While most seeking countywide offices in Anderson County run as a party candidate, most residents I have talked to vote for who they believe are the best candidates for Anderson County—no matter the party.
It is puzzling how in national elections the percentage of registered voters voting in Anderson County is much higher than in local elections like those coming up in May and August. In the last presidential election, 60 percent of registered voters in Anderson County (29,283 of 49,169 eligible) voted. However in the last local county primary election, only 17 percent of registered voters (7,765 of 46,186) voted.
National elections are often decided by very wide margins, and in recent elections candidates barely campaigned in Tennessee because the outcome is so certain. Yet local elections in Anderson County are very often decided by a handful of votes—as seen in the 2010 Juvenile Court judge’s race, which ended in a tie.
These local races more directly affect your pocketbook, the quality of services you rely on, and the future prosperity of our county.
There are very important contested primaries for judges, county mayor, and sheriff. This election will determine whether we will have leaders that can work together to build consensus to solve problems and move our county forward.
I urge every eligible voter to pick a primary and vote for the candidates in that primary you think will do what is best for Anderson County. You can choose whether you vote in the Republican or Democratic primary.
Encourage your friends and neighbors to vote. Early voting in this primary starts April 16 and election day is May 6. Winners of these primaries will be on the Aug. 7 county general election ballot.
Call the Election Commission office at (865) 457-6238 if you have questions regarding your voting rights in this election. Visit their excellent website at acelect.com.
County Commissioner, District 8