2022 Robertson Co. Elections Headed For Historic Changes

2022 Robertson Co. Elections Headed For Historic Changes

2022 Robertson Co. Elections Headed For Historic Changes

ROBERTSON COUNTY: (Smokey Barn News) – Unless they change their minds by November 19th, Robertson County Tennessee is set to make the jump to having primaries.

Assuming nothing changes, that means that on May 3, 2022, Robertson County will have its first County Primary. Though it’s not unheard of for a county to change its mind at the last minute, we’re told that is not likely to happen in Robertson County, according to Administrator of Elections Cathy Hamsley.

Here’s a rundown by local historian Bill Jones.

Primary Elections
What Are They and Why Do We Need them?

Will Jones

Most of us understand General Elections but what are the Primary Elections for? A Primary Election is held before a General Election which allows the political parties to select one person to unite behind in a General Election. In Robertson County, we have Open Primaries which allows voters to vote in either party they want to but when we go to the polls in 2022, Primary Election Day, we must declare which party we want to vote in.

Transitioning to Primary Elections limits voters to only the candidates running in their particular party. In the past, I have experienced voters getting upset when they are asked which party they would like to vote in. They are confusing a General Election with a Primary Election. In a General Election, one can vote for whoever is on the ballot. But in Primaries one can only vote for the candidates a particular party is representing. This is called a Closed Primary because each person has to declare which party they want to vote in.

The Primary system of voting is peculiar to the United States. Some states still have Caucuses which is a leftover from colonial times. That’s another story. One of the problems in the past is “crossover voting.” That is when those of rival parties vote for the weaker candidate in the opposite party primary. This causes problems, mostly when there is low voter turnout.

Whoever wants to run in a party primary must have voted at least three consecutive times in the past in that party primary. Voters can vote in any primary in any year but unlike the General Election, a record is kept of which party you voted in.

There have always been those who get upset when they are asked to declare which primary party they want to vote in. This time our Primary will be held in May of 2022. What’s different is, our local elections of local county elected officials IE: County Mayor, Clerks and Judges, etc., must now pick a party to run in the Primary. City elections are non-partisan.

Lately, we have seen people getting upset about new laws and regulations and they become violent. I hope Robertson County citizens will study our voting laws so they won’t get upset at the polls.

COST: Holding a Primary Election will cost the county roughly $50,000. Smokey Barn News confirmed that number with Robertson County Administrator of Elections Cathy Hamsley, though the total will likely be a little north of that figure, Hamsley said.

The 50k covers just one election. There has to be workers from each party located at each polling place, voting machines set-up, advertising to be run, people to be hired to count the votes and process the election. It is not cheap to have an election and it is getting more expensive and more complicated each year.

One of the drawbacks of having a Primary Election is that it will cause candidates to have to choose a party in order to be in the Primary. Another is if it is a small turnout, a group of voters could vote opposite from what they normally vote for, say for a lesser candidate that they know would most likely lose in the General Election against their candidate which is a stronger candidate. Therefore, eliminating the opposite party’s strong candidate.

What that means is that even if the Primary Election will have a low turnout we need to be careful to vote so that someone isn’t pushed into the General Election because not many voted in the Primary.

Switching to local primaries is a trend across the state of Tennessee, according to Hamsley.  The change creates a short-term window that an experienced politician could theoretically jump through and capture a surprise win, if voters fail to do their research. The question is, will candidates go with their party or gamble with circumvention and go independent. Remember, Robertson County is largely Republican, putting an (R) next to your name could be a game-changer. That variable may push candidates into a wait-and-see mode spiking last-minute entries across the board.

According to everyone we spoke to, the key to a successful election in 2022 will be public education.

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