With less than two weeks until the Tennessee primary election, at least one local election official reports general voter confusion over the state’s ballot system.
Tennessee has an open primary wherein unaffiliated voters can choose which party to vote for at the ballot. By contrast, Kentucky’s primary is closed to only those registered to the political party having the election.
Darrin Thompson is Henry County’s Administrator of Elections. He says that since early voting started July 18, voters have been surprised when asked which political party’s ballot they want.
“They don’t realize that they have to actually pick a ballot type as far as Republican state primary with the county general, the Democratic state primary with the county general or the county general by itself," Thompson said. “They’re not used to having to choose one party over the other. Voters in Henry County like to vote both ways.”
Thompson says that as of Wednesday, 340 of 1,368 early voters in Henry County (24.9 percent) have decided to forego the statewide primary ballots altogether and only vote in the county election. In bordering Weakley County, only 14 percent of early voters have passed on the statewide ballots.
Early voting continues through August 2, ahead of the August 7 primary election.