VOL. 129 | NO. 166 | Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Election Commission Certifies August Vote
By Bill Dries
The Shelby County Election Commission certified the August election results Monday, Aug. 25, at the beginning of a week that includes an early oath of office for those elected to county offices on the ballot.
The results of the August elections were certified this week by the Shelby County Election Commission with some new vote totals.
(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)
First the judges take the oath of office and then the county officials those judges will swear in at a a ceremony Friday afternoon, Aug. 29, at The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts Downtown.
The oath ceremonies are before the Sept. 1 start of the terms of office because of Monday’s Labor Day holiday.
The certification is of audited election results including provisional ballots not immediately part of the unofficial vote totals from election night.
That and similar additions changed some of the vote totals from the unofficial count by less than 100 votes per race but did not change the winners and losers.
In the 9th Congressional District Democratic primary, incumbent Steve Cohen’s certified vote total was 57 votes higher than the election night count and rival Ricky Wilkins picked up 25 votes in the certified count.
In the general election race for district attorney general, Republican incumbent Amy Weirich had 76 more votes in the certified count and Democratic challenger Joe Brown has 62 more votes than in his election night count.
Republican incumbent Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell’s winning total in his re-election bid increased by 71 votes in the audit and Democratic challenger Deidre Malone gained 62 votes in the same audit.
The audit totals also include write-in votes, many of them not counted by candidate because those getting the write-in votes didn’t make their candidacies official or didn’t know someone wrote them in.
The highest number of write-in votes in any race in Shelby County on the August ballot was 765 in the Democratic primary for governor where the party’s establishment had no preferred challenger to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam they were endorsing.
Charles V. Brown carried Shelby County and won the statewide primary over three other name contenders.
There were five candidates who were official write-in candidates, meaning they notified the Election Commission in advance of their intent to wage a write-in campaign.
Kemario Davis, a write-in candidate for the Shelby County Schools board District 6, got no votes – presumably not even his own – in the certified results.
Nicholas Pegues, a write-in candidate in the 8th Congressional District Republican primary, got just one vote, presumably his own.
William Reginald Hughes, waging a write-in campaign for Probate Court clerk, got 54 votes.
Ron Fittes, who ran in the May Republican primary for Shelby County Commission District 4 and lost to Mark Billingsley returned with a write-in candidacy in the general election and got 88 votes.
And Bartlett Alderman Paula Sedgwick running as a write-in candidate and the only candidate of any kind for Republican state executive committeewoman claimed the party position with 34 write-in votes.
The Shelby County Election Commission, meanwhile, continued preparations for the Nov. 4 election ballot.
Those preparations include continuing to check signatures on petitions to put a wine in grocery stores referendum question on the ballot in Memphis and in unincorporated Shelby County.
The Election Commission announced last week that the proposal will be on the ballot in all six of Shelby County’s suburban towns and cities.
The certification of signatures on the petition for Memphis should be completed this week, possibly by Wednesday.
Elections Administrator Richard Holden said even if every signature on the petition for unincorporated Shelby County were valid – a voter who lives in the unincorporated county – there still wouldn’t be enough signatures to meet the legal standard to put the question on the ballot there.
The Election Commission will meet Sept. 3 to certify the field of candidates in the four sets of suburban municipal elections on the ballot in Germantown, Collierville, Bartlett and Millington.
The next day, Sept. 4, is when the state certifies nominees in the November general election for all 99 seats in the Tennessee House of Representatives.
It is a critical date for any Shelby County state House member considering a bid for the District 30 state Senate seat Jim Kyle is giving up following his election to Chancery Court in August.
Like Armstrong, Kyle takes office Sept. 1.
The executive committees of the local Republican and Democratic parties will pick the nominees for the November special general election.
If either group picks a state House member, the House member would then have until Sept. 11 to decide which position they want to run for. If they withdraw from the House general election contest, according to Holden, their party would be without a nominee in the House race.
Kyle is awaiting a legal opinion from the Tennessee Attorney General’s office on the matter as well as other procedural questions.