As early voting ends Thursday, just days before Election Day next Tuesday, Nov. 6, voters here and across the state are turning out in good numbers.
At the end of the day Saturday, 3,919 Lincoln Countians had turned out to cast their ballots in the Federal and State General elections, as well as Fayetteville City elections. That well exceeds the 2,028 who turned out here during all of early voting in the 2016 presidential election.
Statewide, 963,846 Tennesseans had cast their ballots early as of Saturday.
Precincts across Lincoln County will open at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, and remain open throughout the day until 7 p.m. that evening.
Voters are reminded that state law requires you to have a federal or Tennessee-issued photo identification when you go to vote, and that includes early voting at the election commission office and voting on Election Day at your assigned precinct.
Offices on the ballot include governor of Tennessee, U.S. Senate, U.S. House District 4, State House Districts 92 and 62, and State Exec Committeeman and Committeewoman for District 14.
And if you live in the City of Fayetteville, your ballot will also include the city mayor’s seat, three aldermanic seats and three seats on the Fayetteville Board of Education.
Federal and State elections
For the office of governor, frontrunners Bill Lee (Rep.) faces Karl Dean (Dem.), as well as a slew of Independent candidates – in all 26 Independent candidates are on the ballot, which The Times features on Page 3B of this week’s edition.
They include Mark CoonRippy Brown, Sherry L. Clark, Justin Comett, Gabriel Fancher, Sean Bruce Fanning, William Andrew Helmstetter, Cory King, Matthew Koch, Tommy Ray McAnally, Jessie D. McDonald, Tony Randall Mitchell, Yvonne Neubert, Alfred Shawn Raposa, Chad Riden, Robert Sawyers, Sr., Heather Scott, George Blackwell Smith, IV, Jeremy Allen Stephenson, Tracy C. Yaste Tisdale, Mike Toews, Rick Tyler, Vinnie Vineyard, Jaron D. Weidner, Patrick Whitlock, Joe B. Wilmoth, and Mark Wright.
The U.S. Senate seat will see Marsha Blackburn (Rep.) take on Phil Bredesen (Dem.), and six Independents, including Trudy A. Austin, John Carico, Dean Hill, Kevin Lee McCants, Breton Phillips, and Kris L. Todd.
For the District 4 U.S. House of Representatives, incumbent Scott DesJarlais (Rep.) faces Mariah Phillips (Dem.) and one Independent candidate, Michael Shupe.
Vying for the District 62 seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives incumbent Pat Marsh (Rep.) is being challenged by Marty Davis (Dem.).
And for the District 92 seat in the state House of Representatives, incumbent Rick Tillis (Rep.) faces C.S. “Scott” Coffey (Dem.).
Fayetteville City elections
Leading the ballot for Fayetteville will be the mayor’s seat, which is being sought by Michael Whisenant, a current city alderman, and Jeff Bradford. The seat is currently held by Jon Law, who announced in July that he wouldn’t seek a second term.
Five candidates are on the ballot for three aldermanic seats, including incumbent Dorothy Small, Jeff Alder, Tonya M. Allen, Donna Hartman, and Rachael Ayn Martinez, and while not on the ballot, Law has qualified as a write-in candidate for alderman.
Even though three aldermanic seats are on the ballot – those held by Small as well as aldermen Violet Harry and Anna Catherine Osteen, both of whom aren’t seeking re-election – there is the potential for five new aldermen to ultimately win offices. That’s because Vice Mayor Gwen Shelton has announced her resignation, effective Nov. 7, which in effect creates another opening, and if Whisenant were to win the mayor’s seat, his aldermanic seat would also be available.
In 2011, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen adopted an updated charter, clarifying the process through which a vacancy on the City Board is filled. Prior to that, the board had traditionally elected the fourth highest vote-getter from the city ballot to fill a vacancy, but the practice was not a guarantee. The 2011 charter, adopted by the board after an almost two-year process and ratified by the state legislature, then signed by the governor, mandates that the fourth highest vote-getter fill a vacancy. The charter, however, does not address the possibility of a fifth position – while the fifth vote-getter could be selected, it will be up to the new mayor to bring forth a name of a person who would meet qualifications and then be voted upon by the board.
Also on the ballot are three seats on the Fayetteville School Board, but there shouldn’t be any surprises there as only three candidates are running, those being incumbents Mark Clark and Jeff Whitmore and newcomer Jennifer Murdock. Alice Palacio, currently a member of the city school board, didn’t seek re-electio