Tag Archives: elections

On youngest TN political officeholder, age 18

Eighteen-year-old Bailey Hufstetler became the youngest person in Tennessee to hold political office when sworn in recently as a Spring City commissioner, according to the Times-Free Press.

The Bryan College freshman defeated incumbent Jody Baur in August, just months after graduating from Rhea County High School in May.

“I just really wanted to make a difference,” Hufstetler said this week. He is the only person in his family involved in politics.

As city commissioner, his duties will include meeting monthly to hear citizen complaints and voting on issues involving city budgets and infrastructure for the town of nearly 2,000 people.

…Hufstetler said some adults asked him what he would do if elected, but after they learned of his history in the community, many people seemed more at ease.

He volunteers at the Spring City Chamber of Commerce, Spring City Care and Rehab, and the Tennessee Valley Theater. He started a nonprofit organization for child abuse prevention called Heroes and Angels. And Hufstetler volunteers with the Rhea County Relay for Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

“I feel like everybody in the community matters, and I just want to be able to impact the community in a positive way,” he said. “My heart has always been into pursuing the community and to better the community.”

Sunday column: On TN campaign yawning

After spending most of the year fighting among themselves, Tennessee Democratic and Republican party operations now finally are poised to devote post-Labor Day attention to general election contests wherein candidates clash along party lines.

But there are really very few places to focus that attention beyond a national obsession with the presidential campaign. With the exception of a dozen or so races for state House and Senate seats, the outcome of state-level contests is already a foregone conclusion, just as it has been in the last couple of election cycles.

Maybe that’s why Tennessee barely escaped being dead last among the 50 states for voter turnout in 2014, according to a Pew Charitable Trust review of election data. Texas finished lowest with a turnout of 28.34 percent of registered voters. Tennessee’s turnout was just above that at 28.54 percent. Maine finished at the top of the national list with a 59 percent voter turnout. Continue reading

First statewide TN student mock election set

News release from secretary of state’s office
Nashville, Tennessee – (August 24, 2016) – Tennessee’s first ever statewide Student Mock Election is off to an amazing start. As of today, more than 170 schools across the state are registered to participate, meaning an estimated 76,000 students will do something most kids can’t: vote for president of the United States.

Now the Secretary of State’s office is also rolling out an essay contest to encourage students to be actively engaged citizens. Essays topics will be about voting and length requirements vary by grade level. Schools may submit two essays at each grade level. Winners from each level will receive a TNStars 529 College Savings Program scholarship worth $100, $250 or $500 in addition to a trip to the State Capitol. Continue reading

Supremes, appeals court judges win retention elections

All three state Supreme Court justices, appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam to fill vacancies, won full terms in Thursday’s retention elections by better than 2-to-1 margins.

Results in the Supreme Court elections:

Supreme Court Retain Jeffrey Bivins
1,980 of 1,980 precincts – 100 percent

x-Yes 302,562 – 71 percent
No 125,113 – 29 percent

Supreme Court Retain Holly Kirby
1,980 of 1,980 precincts – 100 percent

x-Yes 302,069 – 71 percent
No 123,448 – 29 percent

Supreme Court Retain Roger Page
1,980 of 1,980 precincts – 100 percent

x-Yes 300,944 – 71 percent
No 123,796 – 29 percent
Continue reading

AP’s TN election day setup story

By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — With no statewide positions on the Tennessee primary ballot on Thursday, much of the attention this election season has focused on congressional and state legislative races.

An open congressional seat in western Tennessee attracted a baker’s dozen of candidates to enter the fray for the Republican nomination, while U.S. Reps. Scott DesJarlais and Diane Black are trying to fend off primary challenges from GOP candidates who are trying to position themselves to the right of the incumbents.

In the Tennessee General Assembly, all 99 House seats and 16 of 33 Senate seats up this year. Thirty-eight GOP incumbents are facing challenges by candidates seeking to join the strong Republican majorities in both chambers.

While state Rep. Jeremy Durham has suspended his campaign amid accusations of sexual harassment outlined in a state attorney general’s report, the Franklin Republican remains on the ballot. Several Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville, have made contributions to Durham’s opponent Sam Whitson. Continue reading

Early voting falls to half 2014 level

The state Division of Elections website reports today that 281,278 Tennesseans voted early for Thursday’s election – only about half the early vote reported in 2014 and below the 2012 early turnout as well.

The decline likely indicates a simple matter of voters having fewer races of statewide interest on the ballot than in recent past August elections.

Early voting for the Aug. 4 elections ended on Saturday. The reported statewide total includes 178,915 persons voting in Republican primaries versus 89,534 in Democratic primaries.

In 2014, the early vote prior to the August election totaled 564,733 – 354,226 Republicans and 164,939 Democrats.

In that year, of course, the primary ballot included statewide races for governor and the U.S. Senate plus a general statewide retention election for state Supreme Court justices that came with high-spending campaigns both for and against the three incumbent justices. This year there are no statewide primaries and, while three incumbent Supreme Court justices are again on the ballot, there is no organized opposition to giving them new full terms.

In 2012, the total early vote prior to the August elections was 316,686. Unlike this year, there was a U.S. Senate primary on the statewide ballot (Bob Corker’s reelection).

Early voting begins today for August primary

News release from Secretary of State’s office
Nashville, Tennessee – (July 15, 2016) – Early voting for the August 4 state primary and county general election is now underway. Voting will continue Mondays through Saturdays and end Saturday, July 30.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett is encouraging voters to take advantage of early voting, which allows people to cast a ballot when it’s convenient for them.

“Tennesseans broke records during the March 1 ‘SEC Primary’ by taking advantage of early voting,” Secretary Hargett said. “It will be exciting to see Tennesseans participate in the electoral process this August and November.” Continue reading

Libertarian drive seeks party label on TN November ballot

The Libertarian Party of Tennessee has launched a drive to collect enough signatures to have the party’s candidates listed on the November ballot by party label rather than as “independent.”

Excerpt from a Columbia Daily Herald column on the effort:

Under state law, Democrats and Republicans only need 25 signatures. But alternative parties need 34,000 valid signatures, almost double the votes Johnson received here in 2012. (Note: Gary Johnson was the Libertarian presidential nominee then and has been nominated again. A Politico report on the party convention and November prospects is HERE.)

Republicans, who control the state legislature, have stacked the deck against third parties. Lawsuits and proposed legislation have done little to change the atmosphere. Both Republicans and Democrats think Libertarians hurt their chances in tight races.

“The current political climate has many people looking for alternatives to the two major parties,” (Tennessee Libertarian Chairman Jim) Tomasik said. “In Tennessee, we in essence only have one major party due to the fact that the Democratic Party is dominated overwhelmingly by the Republican super majority.

“Tennesseans looking for more choices are invited to join our petition drive.”

Note: The Tennessee Libertarian Party’s website has a news release on the “ballot access drive” HERE, including a link to the petition form. An excerpt is below: Continue reading

Sen. Sara Kyle’s husband bows out of hearing election lawsuit

Shelby County Chancellor Jim Kyle has recused himself from hearing a lawsuit filed by former Memphis City Court Clerk candidate Wanda Halbert related to the accuracy of last year’s election results, reports the Commercial Appeal.

The Shelby County Election Commission filed a motion Wednesday for Kyle to remove himself from the case because his wife, Democratic Sen. Sara Kyle of Memphis, is in a contested election, Jim Kyle said.

The SCEC motion came after Kyle, himself a former senator, had a run-in with SCEC staff as he tried to get a map of his wife’s district.

“I’m sure I was a bit frustrated,” he said of his repeated attempts to pick up an accurate map.

Kyle said his recusal was “inevitable” once his wife was challenged for her seat, but he stressed that he had abided by the law through the process and hadn’t helped his wife’s campaign in any way.

As a side note, he added: “Today, I got my map.”

The other two chancellors have already recused themselves, so the case could go to a Circuit Court judge, Kyle said. If no circuit judges agree to hear the case, an outside judge would be brought in to hear it.

Halbert filed the lawsuit in October after losing the City Court clerk race to Kay Robilio because voting machine reports didn’t match final tallies.

Cost of abortion vote recount put at $1M

Election officials estimate the total cost to taxpayers of a court-ordered recount of Amendment 1, the 2014 abortion ballot measure, could be $1 million, according to The Tennessean.

But lawyers for the state are asking U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp to allow election officials to postpone any recount while they appeal his ruling.

Requiring county election officials to go through a recount process while preparing for upcoming state, local and federal elections in August and November would be “disruptive” and “interfere with the integrity of those elections,” election officials argued in declarations submitted to the court earlier this month.

In April, Sharp ordered a recount of the state’s controversial ballot measure, calling the method used to count votes “fundamentally unfair” to voters opposed to the measure.

Amendment 1 passed with 53 percent of the vote. The measure specifically removed the right to an abortion from the Tennessee Constitution. Its passage has led to new regulations of abortion clinics and a 48-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion.

Within days of the election, however, eight voters opposed to the measure, including the board chairman of Planned Parenthood of Middle & Eastern Tennessee, filed suit, claiming the vote tabulation methods used by election officials violated their rights under the U.S. Constitution — and was contrary to language in the Tennessee Constitution that explains how votes for ballot measures should be counted.

Sharp’s order required election officials to count only those votes for or against the amendment that were cast by voters who also voted in the governor’s race.

Unlike a simple majority required for a candidate to succeed, the Tennessee Constitution requires amendments to pass by a majority of the votes cast in the governor’s race.

Sharp concluded that the language in the Tennessee Constitution require voters to vote in both races in order to have their votes counted for or against an amendment.