Early voting gets underway today for the August General election with a large ballot awaiting voters at the polls.
“We want to be busy,” Election Administrator Donna Smith declared following what was a disappointing turnout for the local primary elections this spring. “And, this time we will be open three Saturdays.”
Early voting will continue in the early voting room behind the county government building on Locust Street through Aug. 2. Those who do not chose the early voting option can vote when the polls open around the county on Aug. 7. Voting hours for early voting are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. until noon on Saturdays.
While urging voters to make their voices heard at the polls, Smith hopes balloters will not be overwhelmed by the size of the ballot since it includes the judge retention questions that run every eight years.
“There’s six pages of judges,” Smith revealed.
She noted that while voters do not have to cast a vote in every race, the MicroVote machine will make them at least look at every page. Voters can forward through the pages with or without voting on the questions until they reach the end of the ballot. A sample ballot ran in the Sunday edition of the Southern Standard. The ballot can also be viewed by going to www.tnsos.org. That is the Secretary of State’s website. The size of the ballot, Smith noted, will vary as to what district a voter is in.
The balloting being done in the upcoming election is actually two different elections. First, there are Republican and Democratic primaries for state and national offices like 4th District State Representative and U.S. Senate along as well as a state primary for 43rd District State Representative. Along with those, there are the general elections for the local offices. Voters will be asked when they appear to cast their ballots what elections they want to vote in. They will be given a choice of Democratic or Republican primaries. They can chose one or opt not to vote in either. There will also be an offering for the local general election where offices including sheriff, general sessions judge, county executive, district attorney, school board, road superintendent, register of deeds, all constable and county commission spots will be up for grabs.
Smith also wants to remind voters that just because they vote in either of the primaries, does not mean they have to vote for that party when it comes to general election balloting. In other words, a person could vote in the Democratic primary but then vote for a Republican candidate in the general election or vice versa.
“You can vote however you want regardless of what primary you voted in,” Smith said.
Voters are asked to bring some form of picture identification when they come to vote.