People around the world set themselves on fire, battle tanks with rocks and will out-row a ship to the docks to get the right to vote.
by Tony Jones
Special to the Tri-State Defender
People around the world set themselves on fire, battle tanks with rocks and will out-row a ship to the docks to get the right to vote. Meanwhile, the heads of the Democratic and Republican parties here offer spot-on advice to Memphians who think participating in the March 6th primary election is not worth their time.
Don’t fool yourselves, they say. If you want to affect big issue concerns such as the voter photo ID law, the civil liberty questions surrounding potential drug testing for food stamp applicants, or even the proper way to control pit bulls, turnout is a key in driving the decisions that we will all have to live with later. Vote or don’t vote, the primary will decide several crucial races that affect us everyday.
Early voting for the primary started Wednesday (Feb. 15) at the Shelby County Election Commission downtown at 157 Poplar, and will run through Tuesday, Feb. 28th.
Satellite locations will begin accepting voters Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Early voting will conclude at all locations Tuesday, Feb. 28th, after which the primary will be conducted at all precincts on Tuesday, March 6th. As with regular elections, voters will only be able to cast votes at their home precinct on that day.
Called Super Tuesday in the rest of the nation because of the many primaries Republicans are holding to pick their presidential nominee, a presidential choice slot will be available. On the local level, the crucial choice voters will be asked to make will be to decide the final candidates from each party to run for Shelby County District Attorney, General Sessions Court Clerk, Property Tax Assessor, and Shelby County Commission District 1, Position 3, known as the Poplar Corridor/Germantown district.
And that’s a big part of the reason Democratic Party Chairman Van Turner and Republican Party Chairman Justin Joy say people shouldn’t think of this primary, or any election, as not worth their time.
“The party doesn’t get involved in the primaries, we step in to help elect the candidates the people choose, but I think the district attorney’s race is a crucial race,” said Turner. “It is directly related to the education issues, crime issues and economic issues of this community. And it would be beneficial to the city as a whole if we have someone that is dedicated to applying justice in a way that redeems people while we are able.
“I’m a firm believer in punishing ardent criminals, but the district attorney has a lot of power to turn people away from or into the system. We can’t lock away our problems and ignore the conditions that influence and create them.”
The Democratic presidential nominee is a given, but Tennessee is expected to be a pivotal location for the potential Republican nominee, said Joy.
“Just today,” he said, “the Tennessee Republican Party announced it was launching a web feature called ‘It’s Tennessee’s Turn’ that contains information on the presidential nominee candidates as well as information on voting in Tennessee in the March 6 primary. The Shelby County Republican Party will continue making its own efforts to get people informed about the March 6 primary in Tennessee, including the local primary elections.
“While I realize most of the excitement and focus is on the presidential race, voters in Shelby County need to get to know the candidates and make an informed choice on election day for the candidate to represent their party in the general elections later this year.”