We’ve heard many excuses over the years as to why people don’t vote, but none adequately explain why someone would fail to exercise one of the most cherished rights in our free society. One of the most dubious is: “I didn’t know there was an election going on.”
Unless you’ve been stranded on a deserted island with no cell signal, you are aware that there is an election today. The ballot includes a general election for county positions and primaries for state and federal offices.
As this newspaper reported earlier this week, the early voting turnout has been light in the region. We are optimistically hoping voters have decided to wait until today to cast their votes. Recent electoral history, however, is not on our side in that regard.
Regardless of the turnout today, it still costs the county the same amount of tax dollars to hold an election. And taxpayers can only get their money’s worth if they show up to the polls.
There are number of key races around the region that will be decided today. In Unicoi County, there is a contested race for sheriff that has generated a lot of interest.
Washington County voters will decide a sales tax referendum for schools. Members of the city and county boards of education would like to see the local rate raised from the current 2.5 percent to the maximum 2.75 percent state law allows to fund local schools.
The Washington County ballot also sees voters in the 7th and 8th County Commission districts filling unexpired terms. On the state primary ballot, Rep. Dale Ford, R-Jonesborough, sees a challenge for the Republican nomination in the 6th District from James (Micah) Van Huss. The winner of the primary will face Michael Clark, who is unopposed in the Democratic Primary, in the Nov. 6 general election.
Meanwhile, the federal primary ballot finds Congressman Phil Roe unchallenged for the Republican nomination. Likewise, Alan Woodruff is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The two will face off for the 1st District seat in November.
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker faces four challengers for the GOP nomination. Seven Democrats are also vying to be their party’s nominee for the Senate in the fall.
Polls will open today at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. It’s important that you carry some form of approved photo identification when you go to the polls. Acceptable forms of photo ID include driver’s licenses, U.S. passports and government employee identification cards. College photo IDs, however, are not accepted.
Be sure to review the sample ballot and instructions for operating the voting machines that are posted at the polling place. If you have any questions, be sure to consult a poll worker. That’s why they are there.