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Don’t skip Super Tuesday

Johnson City Press • Mar 3, 2020 at 6:00 AM

Democrats undoubtedly have more at stake in the Super Tuesday primaries, but local Republicans still have reason to exercise their voting rights today.

Donald J. Trump seems assured of receiving his party’s nomination for a second term as president, so some Republicans could see today’s primary as a non-event. Meanwhile, a handful of Democrats continue to battle it out for their party’s presidential nomination, even as the field rapidly thins. With 14 states, including Tennessee, voting today, the results likely will narrow the choices even more.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klubachar, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer all exited the race this week in the wake of the South Carolina primary. Their departures left four major horses in the race, essentially split along ideological lines: moderates Joe Biden and Mike Bloomberg in contrast with Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren further to the left. So while Tennessee is a predominantly red state, Democrats seemingly have greater motivation today to head to the polls.

This is an off year for local races, as most county offices were settled in 2018 and just one race is on the GOP ballot in Washington County. But that race should be reason enough for Republicans to participate in the primary. Incumbent Assessor of Property Scott Buckingham faces a zealous, well-funded challenge from former Major League Baseball umpire and state Rep. Dale Ford. Both candidates have hitched onto the Trump train in order to curry favor with voters in this conservative region.

Participating in state and local elections is your best chance of influencing governance, because such officials and governing bodies make decisions that are closer to the issues affecting daily life — schools, taxes, fees, infrastructure and more. That includes how professionally the property assessor’s office is managed in keeping with regulations.

And then there’s your responsibility as a citizen. Voting is a right afforded to us by our democratic republic, yet far too many of us treat it with less reverence than the choice between breakfast cereals. Many don’t bother to vote at all.

If you are registered and have not already cast your ballot in early voting, please vote today. The polls open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Check with your local Election Commission office if you are unsure of your precinct location.

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