Local registered voters planning to take advantage of the conveniences of Early Voting will have until Thursday, May 1. Polling is taking place in three locations from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
The three sites include:
1. Bradley County Election Commission Office, located at 155 Broad St. N.W., in the Courthouse Annex building (old post office building) across from the main Courthouse;
2. North Satellite, located in the Bradley Square Mall in Suite 400 (old Regis hair salon) between JCPenney and the e-Bay store; and
3. South Satellite, located in The Galleria at Sterling Pointe at 2544 Dalton Pike S.E. in suite 103 behind Zaxby’s.
Voters are reminded the South Satellite has changed locations. This is the Early Voting polling place that formerly operated in the portable trailer at the corner of the BI-LO Food Stores parking lot. This site has moved to Sterling Pointe.
Of course, some election die-hards — and bless their hearts for this mindset — staunchly believe in the excitement of the conventional Election Day; that is, visiting the polling places in their respective precincts sometime between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., proudly wearing an “I Voted” sticker on their lapels and then anxiously awaiting election returns that night — whether by TV, radio, social media, news websites or dropping in on the campaign headquarters of their favorite candidates.
Allow us to offer a few reminders about the current election whether voters are casting their ballots early or on May 6:
1. As is the tradition of primary elections, voters will be asked to declare Republican or Democratic primaries, and these are the races in which they will cast their votes electronically.
2. Races are tied directly, or partially, to Bradley County. They range from bids for all seven districts of the Bradley County Commission to judge positions like Circuit (Parts 1, 2 and 3), Criminal, General Sessions (Division 1 and 2) and Chancellor. Races also include District Attorney General, Public Defender, Bradley County mayor, Trustee, Sheriff, Circuit Court Clerk, County Clerk, Register of Deeds, Road Superintendent and Constable for all seven districts.
3. In the Bradley County Commission races, voters are reminded they may cast votes for TWO candidates — not just one. In all other races, voters will cast choices for only one.
4. The entire Democratic Primary includes only five names, and all are uncontested; at least, in their respective primary.
5. The lion’s share of candidates are listed in the Republican Primary. Most are contested races, but a few are not. In the uncontested races, the GOP incumbents or contenders are expected to advance to the Bradley County General races in August, the same ballot which will include state primary races. In some cases, there are no Democrats in the respective primary, meaning whoever wins the Republican ticket in those races will, in effect, be elected (barring the unlikely event of a massive write-in campaign in August). Two key examples are the races for Bradley County Sheriff (between incumbent Jim Ruth and challenger Eric Watson), District Attorney General (between Steve Crump and Stephen Hatchett) and Bradley County Road Superintendent (Sandra Norton Knight and James “Edd” Lewis), as well as a few others.
Those are just a few reminders. And now for a few suggestions:
1. Cast your ballots based on facts; a couple of the races have been filled with finger-pointing, innuendo and negativism. Although commonplace in today’s political world, such practices do nothing to “educate” and “inform.” They merely tear down and lead to smear campaigns that hurt candidates and their families.
2. Hold candidates accountable. If you doubt their claims or even their views, demand they provide proof and legitimate documentation.
3. If you have the opportunity to hear candidates in forums, debates or public addresses in person, take advantage of the chance. If allowable, ask questions. If your question isn’t answered, ask it again.
4. When speaking to candidates individually or in public settings, focus on what they can bring to the job and why they want it — not what they believe is wrong with their opponent(s).
5. Remind candidates of their past positions and previous votes, and if their line of thinking has changed.
And just three more thoughts about the current election ...
1. Vote informed.
2. Vote your conscience.
Best of luck to the candidates.
Best of wishes to Bradley County voters in your decisions.