Navigating the 2020 General Election, locally

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Here's everything you need to know about the locals in the November election. | NOOGatoday

The general election is Nov. 3, and early voting starts on Oct. 14. That may seem like a while from now, but Election Day is only 39 days away.

We want you to be ready to cast your ballot with all the confidence in the world, so we’re breaking down all the 2020 election must-knows for you. In Tennessee, you’ll be voting for 

United States senators + House members, and of course, the President of the United States. 

Some locals will also vote in smaller town elections and on amendments. 

In this guide, you’ll find registration + polling information, maps of local voting districts, a breakdown of candidate priorities, a timeline of important dates, and an election dictionary of terms you should know.

Basically, if you have a question about the upcoming election, this is your resource. So go ahead and bookmark it, and as always, reach out to us if you have any questions we didn’t answer.

Head to the polls

Not sure if you’re registered to vote? Check here.

Need to register? Learn how to do that here. Note: You have until Oct. 5 to register.

Need an absentee ballot? Read all about how to get one here.

Waiting until election day? Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.. If you’re in line by 8 p.m., you will be able to vote. Note: Early voting polling places may be different from voting day polling places. Find your polling place here.

Looking for COVID-19 safety information? Find coronavirus updates from the Tennessee Election Commission here

Candidates by district

Raise your hand if you’re a visual learner. 🙋‍♀️ To determine your districts, check out the maps + resources below, then use your districts to identify your candidates. 

You can also identify your voting districts by checking your voter registration status or sample ballot. Find information on how congressional and state legislative district boundaries are established here.

Tennessee US Congressional districts

Interactive map

PDF map

TN US Congressional districts | Map from capitol.tn.gov

Tennessee House districts

Interactive map

PDF map

TN House districts | Map from capitol.tn.gov

Tennessee Senate districts

Interactive map

PDF map

TN Senate districts | Map from capitol.tn.gov

Hamilton County Congressional districts

Interactive map

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Hamilton County Congressional districts | Map from hamiltontn.gov

Meet the candidates

Since you probably already know about the presidential candidates, we’re focusing on what you need to know on a local level. Keep reading for a breakdown of Tennessee’s U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, and state senate races + candidates in other municipal elections. To identify candidate priorities, we relied on verified candidate questionnaires submitted to the nonpartisan site Ballotpedia + issues listed directly on candidate websites or campaign Facebook pages.

Note: Candidates are listed alphabetically by last name, with the incumbent always the first listed.

US Senate

Bill Hagerty — Republican (incumbent) | Priorities: Support and strengthen the police force; end human trafficking + illegal immigration; fiscal conservative — keep the government out of the free market

Marquita Bradshaw — Democrat | Priorities: human rights + environmental justice advocate; medicare for all; fully funded quality education; living wages + worker’s rights 

Yomi “Fapas” Faparusi Sr. — Independent | Priorities: Affordable healthcare; socioeconomic equity; addressing illegal immigration; supporting small business

Jeffrey Alan Grunau — Independent | Priorities: Economic security; national debt reduction; creating “a society of well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking.”

Ronnie Henley — Independent | Priorities: Federal job guarantee; healthcare/medicare for all; education; infrastructure/modernization; war on poverty; Green New Deal

Dean Hill — Independent | Priorities: Preventing “group thought” that is perpetuated by the two-party system 

Steven J. Hooper — Independent | No information available.

Aaron James — Independent | Priorities: Political reform + eliminating the two-party system; climate change; keeping the electorate informed

Elizabeth McLeod — Independent | Priorities: Restoring fiscal responsibility to D.C.; public safety; making Americans healthier to reduce healthcare costs

Kacey Morgan — Independent | Priorities: Take money out of politics; set term limits for Senate and Congress; major infrastructure investments

Eric William Stansberry — Independent | No information available.

Tennessee State Senate

District 10

Todd Gardenhire — Republican (incumbent)| Priorities: Lower taxes; improved education; modernized health care

Glenn Scruggs — Democrat | Priorities: Fully funded public schools; common sense criminal justice reforms; and economic mobility in Tennessee

District 11

This election will take place in 2022.

TN US House Representatives

3rd Congressional District 

Charles J. Fleischmann — Republican (incumbent) | Priorities: Fiscally and socially conservative policies; end illegal immigration; cut taxes + grow economy through small business support

Meg Gorman — Democrat | Priorities: Enact and enforce term limits for all appointments and elected positions; quality education; affordable housing; comprehensive health care; fair pay; demonetize incarceration

Amber Hysell — Independent | Priorities: Climate change; infrastructure maintenance; ethical immigration practices; pro-human rights; supports term limits

Keith Douglas Sweitzer — Independent | Priorities: Protect + improve lives of minorities; climate change; people over politics; living wages and worker’s rights

TN House of Representatives

District 26

Robin T. Smith — Republican (incumbent) | Priorities: patient-driven healthcare, lower taxes + less tax regulation; family values; Second-Amendment rights

Joan Farrell — Democrat | Priorities: To have a living wage for every Tennessean; protection of workers’ rights; expanding healthcare; more funding for public schools 

District 27

Patsy Hazlewood — Republican | Unopposed | No information available 

District 28

Yusuf Hakeem — Democrat | Unopposed | Priorities: Increased job training and affordable housing opportunities;quality schools; prison reform

District 29

Mike Carter  — Independent | Unopposed | Priorities: constitutional liberties; fiscal responsibility; wants to stop “government overreach” 

District 30

Esther Helton  — Independent | Priorities: Health care reform; and more support for public education.

Joseph Udeaja — Democrat | Priorities: Better healthcare; more local jobs; more community involvement; a better environment; and improved education. 

Local municipality elections

City of Collegedale

Commissioners (You can vote for three)

Debbie Baker

Alexander Brown 

Johnnie Hoskins 

Tim Johnson

Katie A. Lamb

Matthew Sadler

Christopher Twombley

City of East Ridge

City council (You can vote for two)

Jeff Ezell

Robert E. Gilreath Jr

Esther Helton

Denny Manning 

David Tyler

Andrea “Aundie” Witt

City of Lakesite

Commissioners (You can vote for three)

Bobby Bishop 

Valerie J. Boddy

David Howell 

Curtis L. Jones 

William “Bill” Neighbors  

City of Red Bank

Commissioner at Large (Vote for one)

Rick Causer

Pete Phillips

District 1  (Vote for one)

Hollie Berry

Tyler Howell

District 2  (Vote for one)

Bill Cannon

Stefanie Dalton

Mitchell Meek

Town of Signal Mountain 

Town council (You can vote for three)

Vicki Anderson

Andrew Gardner

Cheryl Graham

Charles Poss

City of Soddy-Daisy

Commissioners (You can vote for three)

Jim Coleman

Steve Everett

Max Lowe

Billy Murray

Gene Shipley

Town of Walden

Mayor (You can vote for one)

Lee Davis

William Trohanis

Alderman (an elected member of a municipal council, vote for one)

Kristin M. Allen

Colin Johnson

Lizzy Schmidt

If you are a candidate mentioned in this guide and you would like to clarify the priorities identified for your campaign, please let us know.

Understanding the amendments

We’re here to help you cut through those “extra big words,” and just tell you exactly what these amendments you’re voting on mean. 

City of Chattanooga Municipal Charter Amendments

Ordinance No. 13192: Home Rule Charter | ✅Voting for the amendment would mean you support the idea that a person running for city office would be disqualified if their political activity interfered with state business prohibited by Tennessee or federal law.

 ✅ Voting against the amendment means you are not in favor of changing language in the city charter to disqualify a candidate if their political activity would interfere with state business prohibited by Tennessee or federal law. 

Ordinance No. 13555: Police Advisory and Review Committee | ✅ Voting yes to this amendment would establish a Police Advisory and Review Committee aimed at strengthening the relationships between citizens of the City of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Police Department + ensure a timely review of citizen complaints, while also protecting individual rights of police officers. ✅ Voting no would mean you don’t want to establish this committee. 

East Ridge Ordinance No. 1133: Residency requirement | East Ridge Ordinance No. 1133: Residency requirement | ✅ If you vote for this amendment, you agree to remove the requirement that East Ridge city judges must live in East Ridge and agree instead that they can be elected if they have lived anywhere in Hamilton County for at least one year.. ✅ If you vote against the amendment, you don’t want to make that change. 

Note: None of these amendments would have a substantial impact on the respective city budgets.

General Election timeline

Mark your calendars. 🗓️ Find all of your General Election voting dates + deadlines listed below.

National: 

Sept. 22: National Voter Registration Day

Nov. 3: Election Day

Nov. 4: Preliminary results expected; certified results could take longer

Tennessee:

  • Oct. 5: Voter registration deadline online, in-person + postmarked by mail
  • Oct. 14: Early voting available
  • Oct. 27: Absentee ballot request deadline
  • Oct. 29: Early voting ends
  • Nov. 3: Absentee ballot return deadline, close of polls

Election dictionary 

As we get deeper into the election cycle, there’s a lot of terminology circulating out there, and we want to make sure you have a (somewhat) comprehensive resource to help you discern some meaning from it all. We give you NOOGAtoday’s election dictionary — or, if you’ll indulge us, our electionary. If we missed a word or phrase you’ve been wondering about, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments section to let us know. Source: Votesmart.org

Absentee voting — Similar to mail-in voting, this process allows voters to submit their ballot through the mail or in-person, without going to the polls on Election Day.

Bond — A debt security issued by a local, state, or national government to support spending toward specific government programs or obligations. Often requires constituent support and appears on ballots for voter determination.

Certified results — The final and official results of an election, as verified by the local elections office. These results confirm that all ballots have been counted.

Citizen — Any person who is a legally-recognized member of a locality, state, or country. Except under exclusionary circumstances, all citizens have the right to exercise their vote.

Congressional districts — The US is divided into 435 jurisdictions for the purposes of electing members to the House of Representatives in Congress. Each district is meant to be proportionately sized for its resident population.

Constituents — The voters within a specific locality or district; the people elected officials represent.

Electoral College — The voters of each state that formally elect the United States President and Vice President. Each state has as many electoral college votes as it does U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators in Congress combined.

General election — A regular election between candidates of multiple parties, as opposed to a primary election where the candidates are within the same political party.

House of Representatives — One of two houses within the federal branch of government called Congress. Each state has representatives based on its population.

Incumbent — If a candidate running for election is also the current seat-holder for that position, they are called the incumbent.

Mail-in ballot — An official ballot that is submitted to the local elections board by mail instead of in-person at a designated polling place.

Polling place — A designated location where voters cast their ballots in-person on Election Day or during an early voting period.

Popular vote — The raw number of votes cast by individual voters within a locality, state, or country. Within the US system of voting, the popular vote can differ from the deciding votes of the Electoral College.

Preliminary results — The projected or anticipated results of an election, usually announced when the majority of districts are reporting. These results are not definitive and can change as ballots continue to be processed and counted on or after Election Day.

Referendum — The legal process of submitting to the voters for their approval or rejection of proposed state or rejection of proposed state of local laws or constitutional amendments.

Senate — One of two houses within the federal branch of government called Congress. Each state has two senators.

Swing state — Any US state where the level of support for two major political parties is considered to be fairly equal on both sides.

Unaffiliated voters — Voters who are not registered to vote with a specific political party are called unaffiliated.

Voter turnout — The percentage of registered, eligible voters within a locality who cast a ballot during any given election.

This is part of our ongoing election coverage. You can learn more about our Editorial Ethics Policy and how we prioritize information regarding the upcoming elections here.

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