Prior to the November 8th election which will decide, amongst other things, the next President of the United States and the 115th US Congress, residents of Metro Nashville Davidson County will first have the chance to decide several local offices, as well as Congressional party primaries, on August 4th. For Rollin Hastings and many others like him, this is an exciting opportunity to exercise their right to be an uninformed voter.
“Most people think they only get one chance per election cycle to cast a vote with absolutely no real rationale behind their choices” noted Hastings as he exited the early voting location at the Davidson County Clerk this morning. “They don’t realize that they’re missing out on so many other ways to ignorantly sway the course of governance in their city, county, and state. It’s not just about the national races; all politics are local, and even the most sweeping, broad-reaching bad idea has to start with the apathy of me and you and our friends and neighbors. Going to the ballot box without doing any prior research on the candidates other than deciding who has the most attractive yard sign or catchy slogan is a sacred duty of all Americans; we as a people should be jumping at every single chance afforded us to take part in our Democracy with only limited forethought.”
On the local level, the August 4th election will offer Davidson residents the chance to vote for School Board members in odd-numbered districts, as well as a replacement Metro Council Member (in District 1) and an unopposed candidate for Property Assessor. On the state level, voters will be determining their party’s candidate in November for State House and Senate seats, as well as Nashville’s US Congressional Representative. Furthermore, Tennesseans will be afforded the chance to decide whether several Judges of the TN Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals should be retained for another term or replaced.
To Hastings and other like-minded residents, these decisions are too important not to take part in, regardless of whether or not they know anything about the ramifications of their selections. “So many people don’t pay attention to these elections because they think their vote doesn’t count; in this year’s Super Tuesday primary, less than 33% of registered Davidson County voters went to the polls, and that was a record high. If recent events have proven anything, though, it is that courting the uninformed vote is the most important part of any political campaign. Just look at how many Britons voted to leave the EU before actually Googling it and deciding they wanted a do-over. That kind of ignorance was able to change the destiny of not just a nation, but an entire continent, and all it took was a hashtag. We can do that locally, too! Just think about four years ago when uninformed voters selected [ultra-conservative candidate] Mark Clayton to be the Democratic challenger to [Republican Sen.] Bob Corker, for no other reason than because his name was alphabetically-listed at the top of the ballot. That’s the kind of power that ignorant voters can wield, and I for one intend to wield it with gusto.”
Early voting for the August 4th election is now open in Davidson County through July 30. For more information on polling locations, sample ballots, and more, visit www.Nashville.gov/Election-Commission.aspx. Photo of voter submitted by a Rhinestone reader and used with their permission.