VOTE TENNESSEE!!! NOVEMBER 6, 2018 ELECTION!
[My Podcast Episode 20 corresponds to this article.]
A few weeks ago I posted an article and podcast about how important it is to vote in the upcoming mid-term elections on November 6th. Mid-Term Elections are held every four years, half-way through the presidential term.
The election is right around the corner, and I know some of you have some questions about what you’ll be voting for. If you don’t live in Tennessee, this won’t completely apply to you, because I’m going to review the upcoming ballots for Tennessee’s Davidson & Williamson counties, where most of us “Nashvillians” live.
This election is important both at the national and state level, so I’ll talk about both. I’m not going to be trying to sway your vote one way or another, just letting you know what you’re going to be voting for. The thing I always hated about voting was walking into the ballot box and finding that there was something on the ballot that I wasn’t prepared for. I don’t want that to happen to you – nor give you an excuse not to vote because you aren’t informed!
I don’t know if you’ve seen the viral video that President Obama has posted of the top seven excuses not to vote, but it’s great, and pretty much kills any reason you might have to stay home on Election Day.
On the national level, we are voting for two things: a US Senator and a US Representative.
Just a quick review – The U.S. Congress is divided into two parts: The Senate and the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives serve for two years, so every two years we have to vote on all of them. Senators serve six years, so about 1/3 of the senate seats are up for election.
President Trump is a Republican and the majority of Congress is also currently Republican. A president wants to have his own party as the majority in congress, because it makes it more likely that his interests will be voted in, so he’s been out campaigning for Republican candidates.
UNITED STATES SENATOR
There are two Senators for each of the fifty states, for a total of 100. A senator represent the entire state.
We are voting for ONE of the two U.S. senate seats. I’ll talk about the two main contenders, Marsha Blackburn, Republican and Phil Bredesen, Democrat, but there are also six independent candidates – meaning that they are neither Democrat nor Republican.
Marsha Blackburn currently serves as a U.S. Representative, but now she is running for the Senate. She also has served in the Tennessee state senate (remember that states have a congress that is set up very much like the United States Congress). She’s running against Phil Bredesen, a former mayor of Nashville and former governor of Tennessee.
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Members of the House of Representatives are elected for two-year terms, and the number of representatives for each state varies, according to the population of the state. Tennessee has nine. Each represents a certain district of the state, and only the people of that district elect them.
If you live in Davidson county, you live in the 5th District and the contest is between Jim Cooper, a Democrat and the incumbent (meaning he is the current one and is running for re-election – and has been getting re-elected since he first took office in 2003) and Jody Ball, a Republican, who has never served in public office.
If you live in Williamson County, you live in the 7th District, and the election will be between Mark Green, a Republican who currently serves in the Tennessee senate, & Justin Kanew, Democrat, who is new to politics, and two independent candidates.
Tennessee is voting for a new governor. The contest is between Republican Bill Lee, a newcomer to politics, and Democrat Karl Dean, who was mayor of Nashville from 2007-2015.
Tennessee Senate and House of Representatives
We’ll also be voting on state level senate and house seats. On the sample ballot for Davidson County and Williamson County you will see lots and lots of senate and house races, but on your ballot on Election Day, you’ll only see the one you are going to vote for, who represents the area where you live. Because it depends on where you live you’ll need to look this up!
If you have a voter registration card, it will say what district you are in, or you can easily look it up by putting in your address, and it will tell you which district you are in for state senate and state house of representatives, then you’ll know which race you’ll be voting in.
Some of the races are uncontested, which means that nobody is running against the person.
Williamson County is voting on a referendum either for or against the legal sale and consumption on the premises of alcohol in the unincorporated areas of Williamson County.
If you live in Belle Meade, Forest Hills, or Goodlettsville, you’ll be voting for City Commissioner.
If you live in Fairview, Nolensville, or Thompson Station, you’ll be voting for a new mayor, as well as a commissioner or alderman.
Six Addendums in Davidson County
There are six addendums in Davidson County you’ll need to vote Yes or No on. Be aware of what they are about ahead of time, because you don’t want to be reading and trying to figure them out standing in the ballot box. I’ll give you the highlights.
Addendum 1 – Do you want an oversight board of 11 members to investigate allegations of misconduct against Metro Nashville Police Officers? The budget is minimum $1.5 million. This has a lot of attention and I’ve seen signs all over town to either Vote Yes or Vote No.
Addendum 2 – Do you want revise the line of succession for mayor by calling for a council election of a temporary mayor (who won’t be able to run for mayor) if there isn’t a vice mayor available?
Addendum 3 – Do you want to have a special election for a mayor, vice mayor, or district council member if one of those offices comes available and a lot of their term is still left?
Addendum 4 – Do you want the oaths that the mayor, vice mayor, and council members say when they take office to include that they will uphold the Charter of Nashville?
Addendum 5 – Do you want to change the council members’ terms to be able to serve three terms instead of the two they can now serve?
Addendum 6 – Do you want to update the Charter of Nashville to be gender neutral? Changing “councilmen” to “council members” and “policemen” to “police officers?”
Whew. Well that’s it folks. Get ready. Find out where you are supposed to go vote, and do it! OR you can vote early in city hall or most libraries. You can find a list of early voting locations for Davidson County here and Williamson County here.
A few helpful links
Video about mid-term elections
Two great websites with tons of information about your government and voting: https://vote.gov/
Video about checking your registration
Video about voting for the first time
Williamson County Sample Ballot