February 17, 2022
By: Dwayne Page
DeKalb County Elections Administrator Dennis Stanley, in conjunction with WJLE, has produced a short video with important information voters should be aware of for the May 3 DeKalb County Democratic and Republican primaries.
Stanley said the purpose of the video is to answer questions voters might have to better prepare them for Election Day.
Here is a summary of the information shared by Stanley in the video:
What is a primary election?
• “A primary election is an election for each political party to select its candidates in each office to represent their party in the August county general election,” said Administrator Stanley.
“In the May primaries, Democrats are running against Democrats and Republicans are running against Republicans. Independent candidates are never listed on a primary ballot. The winners of the May primaries will advance to the August general election,” he said.
“It’s the August general election when the Democrats take on the Republicans with any suitably qualified independent candidate. It’s August when the winner takes all and becomes the incumbent. Also in August we have a primary of Tennessee State for State Offices held on the same day and more information on these primaries will be provided at a later date.”
• “As for the May primary, we were asked if a person can vote for one candidate in one party and another candidate in the other party. The answer is no. Under state law, a voter cannot vote in two primaries that are being held at the same time, as is the case on May 3. Accordingly, a voter must decide which candidate, office or party is most important to them and then make a selection,” Stanley continued.
• “We were also asked if a voter says he is independent, can he vote in May? The answer is yes. Party registration does not exist in Tennessee. You are simply a registered voter. However, keep in mind that the May elections are primary elections and there are NO independent candidates on the May ballots. Again, the voter must choose only one primary,” Administrator Stanley said.
• “Another question is if a voter votes for a particular candidate or party in May, should they vote for the same candidate or in the same state primary in August? The short answer is no. August is a completely different election and how someone votes in May has no impact on the August election, whether in the county or Tennessee primaries. It just becomes the voter’s choice again,” Stanley said.
“When voting for county offices in August, a voter has the choice of voting for a candidate from either party or an independent candidate. August is a county general and voters can choose a party candidate in one office and in another office choose an opposing party candidate or vote for an independent,” he said.
•Another question, is it recorded which primary a voter chooses? “Yes, we don’t know who you voted for, but each voter’s party choice is recorded on their permanent record,” Stanley explained.
• If a voter does not vote in May, can they still vote in August? “Yes, again in simple terms, one election is unrelated to the other,” Administrator Stanley said.
• How do I know which candidate is running in each primary? “Sample ballots are available on our website ahead of the election and are published in a popular local newspaper. In addition, sample ballots will be available at each polling place and electoral district on Election Day. A sample ballot will also be posted on www.wjle.com. Voters are encouraged to study the ballot, see which candidates are running in which primary, and make their choice. Again, voters can only choose one primary per election,” Stanley said.
“I also want to remind voters to update their address with the electoral office to avoid delays when they come to vote. During the petition process, we noticed that several voters had signed a petition with an address that was not the same as in our database. In order to avoid delays or possibly a trip across town on Election Day, voters should update their address as soon as possible. This can be done in person or online by logging on to www.dekalbelections.com or www.govoteTN.Gov,” Stanley said.
“I also want to remind voters of some constituency changes. Those who voted at Edgar Evins State Park will now vote on Election Day at the Temperance Hall Community Center. Those who voted at Dowelltown Community Center will now vote at Liberty Community Center and those who voted at Belk Community Center will vote on Election Day at Keltonburg Community Center,” Stanley continued.
Early voting will take place from April 13 to April 28 and times will be announced soon. Listen to WJLE or log on to www.wjle.com for more announcements.
“Remember that the May election is a primary election and voters can only choose to vote in one of those primaries on that day,” Stanley concluded.