Early voting for the Shelby County primaries begins this week. Are you registered to vote? Did you know you can now register online in Tennessee? Do you know which county district you live in and who’s running to represent it? Here’s a guide to help you prepare:
- Early voting period: April 11th – April 26th
- Shelby County Primary Election Day: May 1st
- General election: August 2, 2018
Why it matters…
Shelby County residents have to elect a new mayor this year, a head of the sheriff’s department, county commissioners, and more. The public offices on the ballot help make decisions about county budget allocations, property tax rates, school funding, and a myriad of other big decisions that you likely won’t notice until after they’ve been made.
The purpose of a partisan primary is for members of political parties to nominate candidates for the general election. Primaries allow political parties to select and unite behind one candidate. It’s worth mentioning that Tennessee operates an open primary. That means no matter which party affiliation you register with, you can still choose to vote in whichever primary you prefer.
This Memphis Daily News article provides great context for how this round of primaries differs from previous ones as far as candidate makeup, and explains which positions on the ballot were unopposed as of the candidate filing deadline.
1. First things first…Make sure you’re registered to vote.
The registration deadline for participating in the primary election was April 2nd, but you still have time to get your affairs in order for voting in the general election in August.
Check your status: https://tnmap.tn.gov/voterlookup/
The Voter Registration Lookup will tell you your assigned polling location, senate district, house district, congressional district, and county district.
Tennesseans must still register online or use a paper form at least 30 days before an election to vote.
2. Research the candidates.
You can Google recent news about candidates and peruse their official campaign websites or campaign Facebook pages where available. Visit the Memphis Public Library’s Informed Voter platform for a list of candidates running for each position. Click on each position below for more info on the responsibilities of each office on the ballot.
3. Get to the polls and help others get to the polls.
For a list of early voting locations and hours, go here.