Home Local News Early Voting begins in Nashville

Early Voting begins in Nashville

Be ready for long lines

by Cass Teague
Early Voting has started. (photo: Adobestock)

Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County Election Day for State and Federal Primaries, the Davidson County General Election, and the Oak Hill Municipal Election are Thursday, August 4. Early voting begins at Howard Office Building at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, July 15, and runs through Tuesday, July 19 there. All eleven early voting locations open on Wednesday, July 20 at 8:00 a.m. and hold various hours on different days through Saturday, July 30 at 4:30 p.m. Do yourself a huge favor and vote early, or vote absentee if you are eligible.

In the state Democratic primary, three races are of particular interest —  Governor, Senate District 19, and House District 52. Statewide, Carnita Faye Atwater and JB Smiley, Jr. of Memphis are competing with Jason Brantley Martin of Nashville for Governor; Justin Jones and Delishia Porterfield are competing for House D52; and in an interesting situation, five candidates qualified for Senate D19, including Barry Barlow, Jerry Maynard, Charlene Oliver, Rossi Turner, and Ludye Wallace.

Many of the Democrat candidates who won their county primaries held in May have no Republican opposition in the County General election. Among notable exceptions is incumbent Democrat jurist Lynda Jones, who is being challenged for her seat as General Sessions Judge Division IX by Republican Brian Horowitz.

Four Metro School Board Districts are being contested, as follows: Rachel Elrod (D = Democrat) faces Todd Pembroke (R = Republican) and Edward Arnold (I = Independent) in District 2; Berthena Nabaa-McKinney (D) faces Kelli Phillips (R) in District 4; Cheryl Mayes (D) faces Fran Bush (I) in District 6; and Erin O’Hara Block (D) faces Amy Pate (I) in District 8.

Be prepared for very long lines and delays, and to be extremely patient. The ballot contains four very important (and very lengthy) Charter Amendments that every citizen should read and reflect upon, ahead of time, definitely before you show up to cast your ballot. The Sample Ballot online runs 20 (twenty) pages!

The Sample Ballot even officially says: “Please Prepare. The ballot is extremely long. We strongly encourage you to review this sample ballot and come prepared. If preferred, you may mark this sample ballot and bring it with you to vote. Due to the length of the ballot, voting will require extra time. Please keep this in mind as you are making your voting plans.”

Please, please, please download and/or read the Sample Ballot from/on the Nashville Davidson County Metro Election Commission website, at: https://www.nashville.gov/departments/elections/voters/find-2022-election-information

Bear in mind that if you do not have a computer and/or printer, each Nashville Public Library branch has free computers and you are allowed to print up to 20 pages free each day, so simply stop by a branch and get your sample ballot printed free of charge. NPL’s librarians are very friendly and helpful and will be glad to do this for you. It will only take a few minutes and is available to you even if you do not have a library card (which, let’s face it, you really should!).

Also on the ballot, there are 26 Judicial Retention questions concerning five Supreme Court justices and 21 Appellate Court justices.

Please also verify your eligibility status and polling location as soon as possible. Due to the Republicans’ redistricting and gerrymandering shenanigans, many voters have been purged, and even more, will likely find that their polling places and even their legislative and congressional districts have changed.

You can go online anytime to verify your status at: https://tnmap.tn.gov/voterlookup/ and also get your Voter ID, Precinct, TN Senate District, TN House District, US Congressional District, and County District (School Board, etc.). Alternatively, you can call the County Election Commission during business hours at (615) 862-8800 for details, and to verify your status. It only takes less than two minutes but can save you hours of frustration later. They can mail you a new voter registration card in time to have it for this election cycle in a matter of days. This was my experience…. a few minutes on the phone and a new card was quickly sent. You may enter https://maps.nashville.gov/PollingPlaceFinder/ in your browser to find your polling place, but this will not confirm your voting status as registered or not.

Do also bear in mind that your voter registration card is NOT acceptable as ID for voting. According to the State Elections website: “Tennesseans voting early or on Election Day must bring valid photo identification with them to the polls. A driver’s license or photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, by the Tennessee state government, or by the federal government are acceptable even if they are expired. College student IDs are not acceptable. Learn more about what types of ID are acceptable here [on the state elections website] or call the Division of Elections at 1-877-850-4959.”

At least two Metro polling locations are permanently relocated, effective with the current election. District 16 – Precinct 3 NEW Location is Proclamation Church, 308 East Thompson Lane, Nashville, TN 37211; it was formerly Olive Branch Church, 938 Havenhill Drive, Nashville, TN 37217. District 31 – Precinct 2 NEW Location is W. H. Oliver Middle School, 6211 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211; it was formerly Citipointe Church, 7533 Lords Chapel Drive, Nashville, TN 37211.

In the state primary elections, here in middle Tennessee, you may notice that the redistricting and blatant gerrymandering has severely impacted voters in Districts 5, 6, and 7, which have been engineered to help the Republicans gain and hold power over the congressional districts statewide, and control Nashville. This author has been a happy resident of District 5 his entire 50-year voting life until this year when the redistricting threw me into District 7.

Please do your research and find out about the candidates and issues on the ballot. Make sure you are registered, and have the proper identification with you, and have read the items on the ballot before you go to vote. You may make a new friend! You’ll very likely be in line long enough.


Seven pages of the Ballot detail the four Metro Charter Amendments. Here are very brief overview summaries of what they concern

CHARTER AMENDMENT NO. 1   SUMMARY

The amendment would modify the process for amending the Charter of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County by a resolution of the Metropolitan Council or a petition of registered voters. The amendment would define the membership and duties of the

Charter Revision Commission, which would include review of all proposed Charter amendments and certification of qualifying amendments submitted by petition. The amendment establishes required elements for proposed Charter amendments and deadlines for placing a Charter amendment on a ballot. The amendment provides that a petition certified by the Charter Revision Commission shall be signed by at least ten percent of registered voters within ninety days after the certification in order to be placed on a ballot.

CHARTER AMENDMENT NO. 2  SUMMARY

This amendment would require that police department employees meet physical qualifications set by the civil service commission instead of requirements for admission to the United States Army or Navy. This amendment would further update U.S. citizenship requirements to reflect Tennessee state law.

CHARTER AMENDMENT NO. 3  SUMMARY

This amendment differentiates between the board of health and the department of health, changes the membership of the board of health, refines and clarifies the roles and duties of the board of health, and modifies the qualifications for the director of health.

CHARTER AMENDMENT NO. 4  SUMMARY

This amendment would create the Department of Transportation and Multimodal Infrastructure and define its functions by focusing on transportation and other activities occurring within the public rights of way. The Department of Transportation and Multimodal Infrastructure will replace the Department of Public Works. The Metropolitan Government will continue to provide all the services of the former Department of Public Works.


Important Note about Absentee Ballots

The Absentee Ballot Request deadline is July 28, 2022. However, the USPS recommends mailing this form no later than by Thursday, July 21, 2022, to ensure the timely return of your voted ballot. Digital Signatures are NOT Accepted…..Original Signature is REQUIRED on the form. Absentee ballots SHOULD be sent by US Postal Service, not UPS or FedEx, or any other courier.

If you can make any of the following statements, they are valid reasons for using an absentee ballot:

____ I am sixty (60) years of age or older.

____ I am hospitalized, ill or physically disabled and unable to appear at my polling place to vote (this includes persons who have underlying medical or health conditions which in their determination render them more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 or at greater risk should they contract it).

____ I am a caretaker of a hospitalized, ill or physically disabled person (this includes voters who care for or reside with persons who have underlying medical or health conditions which in their determination render them more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 or at greater risk should they contract it).

____ I will be outside of Davidson County during all hours of Early Voting (July 15 – 30) and Election Day.

____ I am enrolled as a full-time student or I am the spouse of a student at an institution outside Davidson County.

____ I am a voter with a disability and my polling place is inaccessible.

____ I reside in a licensed facility, outside the county, providing relatively permanent care, i.e. nursing home.

____ I am a candidate.

____ I am on jury duty in a state or federal court.

____ I am serving as an election official or a member or employee of the Election Commission on Election Day.

____ I am observing a religious holiday that prevents me from voting early or on Election Day.

Additionally, in any of these three cases:

____ I am a member of the military, spouse, or dependent.

____ I am an activated National Guard member on state orders.

____ I am an overseas citizen and otherwise qualified to vote in TN.

è You must include a mailing address outside Davidson County, even if ballot is emailed.

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