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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Friday, August 08, 2008

"Open Primaries" for Local Offices

Tennessee held its party primaries for state and federal offices (other than president) yesterday. To my knowledge, it's the only state that has primaries on Thursdays.

Shelby County-- of which Memphis is the seat-- also held its general election yesterday for certain county offices. I had known that Memphis had nonpartisan municipal elections, popularly called "open primaries" in Mississippi: there are no party primaries, and all candidates are listed on the same ballot.

But the elections for county offices in Shelby County are apparently also nonpartisan. Since the general election for those offices was held yesterday, the first round obviously occurred at an earlier date and narrowed the choices to two candidates per office. According to the Memphis Daily News:

"Polling places in Shelby County will be open today from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for state and federal primaries and county general elections.

"Also, voters will decide the fate of two sets of amendments to the Shelby County charter, and will vote yes or no to retain seven state appeals court judges. The county general election ballot features races for assessor, trustee, General Sessions Court clerk and Criminal Court judge Division 6."

Interesting that Tennessee has retention votes for state judges. This likely means that the judges first gained office through appointment.

I'm going to find out whether all counties in Tennessee have nonpartisan elections ("open primaries") for their county officials, or whether that's decided on a local-option basis.

Tennessee, incidentally, does not have party runoff (or second) primaries (Ray Blanton won the 1974 Democratic primary for governor with 22.7% of the vote, and Bill Frist won the 1994 Republican primary for U. S. senator with 44.4%).

Click here to see my proposal for greater choice for Mississippi voters.


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