VOL. 126 | NO. 246 | Monday, December 19, 2011
Election Commission Website Causes Confusion
By Bill Dries
The information was there somewhere on the www.shelbyvote.com website, Shelby County Election Commission staffers insist.
It was just somewhere that most politicos interested in basic information about the four countywide races on the March 6 primary ballot couldn’t find.
After the holiday season, election commissioners will talk about a better way to resume posting online what was once easily available information on who has picked qualifying petitions to run for office and who has filed petitions to run.
The election commission website list wasn’t found by most politicos until a week before the Dec. 8 filing deadline, and even then it was missing filings by several major candidates including incumbent District Attorney General Amy Weirich, who filed before Thanksgiving.
Two lists turned up at the filing deadline on the same website – with one list having one more name than the other.
The written logbook of candidates at the election commission also didn’t include any notation for who among the names had filed until the week before the filing deadline.
Meanwhile, one of the four sets of Shelby County primaries on the March 6 ballot was decided at the Thursday, Dec. 15, deadline for candidates to withdraw from the ballot.
The Shelby County Election Commission Thursday certified 16 candidates in the two sets of primaries for four county offices and one independent candidate who advances automatically to the Aug. 2 county general elections.
The primary contests for Shelby County district attorney general were decided Thursday, when Democratic contenders Glenn Wright and Linda Nettles Harris withdrew from the primary, leaving former Memphis City Council member Carol Chumney unopposed.
Chumney advances to the August ballot, where she will challenge incumbent Republican Amy Weirich, who has no primary opposition either.
Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks withdrew at the deadline from the crowded Democratic primary race for General Sessions Court clerk
Another Democratic primary contender was disqualified by the election commission.
Karen Woodward of Lakeland didn’t make the ballot because while she was at the election commission before the filing deadline Dec. 8 at noon, she didn’t file until 12:16 p.m., according to the timestamp the commission puts on all petitions.
That leaves a Democratic field of Shelby County Commission chairman Sidney Chism, the incumbent but suspended and indicted clerk Otis Jackson, his interim appointed replacement Ed Stanton Jr. and Marion Brewer.
The GOP primary is between Rick Rout and James Finney.
The winner of each primary will face independent candidate Patricia Jackson in August.
Charlotte Draper was disqualified as a contender in the Democratic primary for Shelby County assessor of property after Tennessee Democratic Party leaders in Nashville sent a letter to the election commission stating Draper is not a “bona fide” Democrat.
Democratic incumbent Cheyenne Johnson is seeking re-election with a primary challenge from Realtor Steve Webster. The Republican primary is among John Bogan, Randy Lawson and Tim Walton.
The Democratic primary race for Shelby County Commission District 1 Position 3 goes to Stephen Ross, who is running unopposed in March. He will face the winner of the GOP primary between former county commissioner Marilyn Loeffel and Steve Basar on the August general election ballot.
At the top of the ballot March 6 will be the Tennessee primaries for president.
Early voting begins Feb. 15.