By CHRIS MENEES
One and counting.
The first person to take advantage of early voting for the Aug. 2 election was waiting when the doors were unlocked at 8:30 this morning at the Obion County Election Office.
“We just had our first person to vote today,” Obion County administrator of elections Leigh Schlager said about 8:40 a.m.
Today marks the start of the early voting period prior to the Aug. 2 election — which is an Obion County general election and a state primary election.
Early voting will continue through July 28 and anyone may vote early at the election office, located at 308 Bill Burnett Circle in Union City.
During the 16-day period, the election office will be open Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. There are three Saturdays during the early voting period, which actually ends on a Saturday this time.
Mrs. Schlager said voters should remember that a federal or state government-issued photo identification is now required to vote, unless some exception applies. College student IDs will not be accepted. For more information, contact the election office at 885-1901 or visit the website www.GoVoteTN.com.
For the Aug. 2 election, those who vote in the state primary will be required to declare either Republican or Democrat, but anyone may vote in the Obion County general election without having to declare a party.
“If you don’t want to declare, you can just get a county general ballot,” Mrs. Schlager explained.
For those who don’t take advantage of early voting over the next two weeks, they may cast their ballots in person at their respective voting precincts on Election Day, Aug. 2, between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.
In the Obion County General Election, voters countywide will cast ballots for an assessor of property — with Judy D. Smith running as an independent candidate — and vote on whether or not to retain or replace a pair of Court of Criminal Appeals judges — Jeffrey S. Bivins in the Middle Division and Roger A. Page in the Western Division.
In their respective districts, Obion County voters will have the opportunity to select four members of the Obion County School Board, three trustees of the Kenton Special School District (KSSD) and the county’s constables.
Candidates for the Obion County School Board include James L. Faulkner and David Walter Lamb (incumbent) in District 1; Diane F. Sanderson (incumbent) and Chris Wilson in District 3; Brian Douglas Rainey (incumbent) in District 5; and Dan Huggins and Scott Northam in District 7. The District 7 seat is currently held by Susan Williams, who is not able to seek re-election there due to recent redistricting.
Among the candidates for the KSSD trustee positions are Charles L. Phillips in the Gibson County trustee race and Mike Farrar in the Kenton city trustee race. No one qualified to run for the Obion County trustee position.
Constables are up for election in all seven of Obion County’s districts, although there are three districts where no candidates qualified to run. Those listed on the ballot include Bobby J. Hall in District 1; James W. Hack in District 2; Bruce Davidson in District 3; and Eugene Fletcher in District 7. No candidates appear on the ballot for Districts 4, 5 and 6.
Mrs. Schlager said even though all of the ballots have spaces for write-in candidates, as required by law, the deadline for write-in candidates has passed and no one qualified as a write-in in any of the races.
“There is a process you have to go through to run as a write-in candidate,” she said.
For the state primary, voters will have to declare either Republican or Democrat in order to vote in races that include candidates for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives for the 8th Congressional District, Tennessee Senate for the 24th Senatorial District and Tennessee House of Representatives for either the 77th Representative District or the 76th Representative District, depending where the voter lives based on recent redistricting.
Candidates for the U.S. Senate include: Republicans, Fred R. Anderson, Mark Twain Clemens, Bob Corker (incumbent), Brenda S. Lenard and Zach Poskevich; and Democrats, Mark E. Clayton, Larry Crim, Gary Gene Davis, Dave Hancock, Park Overall, T.K. Owens and Benjamin Roberts.
The U.S. House of Representatives candidates for the 8th Congressional District are: Republicans, Stephen Lee Fincher (incumbent) and Annette Justice; and Democrats, Wes Bradley, Timothy D. Dixon and Christa Stoscheck.
In the Tennessee Senate race for the 24th Senatorial District, the candidates include: Republicans, Danny C. Jowers of Kenton and John Stevens of Huntingdon; and Democrat, Brad Thompson of the Midway community.
Recent redistricting has resulted in Obion County now being served by two different state representatives — those for the 77th Representative District and the 76th Representative District — and local voters in the state primary election will receive the ballot with the appropriate candidates for their district. South Fulton is now entirely in the 76th Representative District and there are five split precincts in the county affected by the redistricting, according to Mrs. Schlager.
In the Tennessee House of Representatives, candidates in the 77th Representative District are: Republican, Bill Sanderson (incumbent); and Democrat, Mark Oakes.
For the 76th Representa-tive District of the Tennessee House of Representatives, candidates are: Republican, Andy Holt (incumbent); and Democrat, Mark L. Maddox.
Mrs. Schlager said cards were mailed out to everyone affected by the redistricting, but many of the cards were returned to the election office as undeliverable. Anyone who has questions should call the election office at 885-1901 or stop by the election office, located adjacent to the courthouse.
She said the election office computer has been programmed and voters will receive the correct ballot for the district in which they reside.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 7.13.12