secretary of state

Early voting gets underway Wednesday

Early voting gets underway today.

Here’s a release from the Secretary of State’s Office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Starting today, Tennessee voters can cast their ballot early for the Nov. 8 State and Federal General Election.

Early voting runs Monday to Saturday until Thursday, Nov. 3. and offers the convenience and flexibility of evening hours and multiple polling locations in some counties. Tennessee voters can find their polling hours, locations and more with the GoVoteTN app or online at GoVoteTN.gov. The GoVoteTN app is free in the App Store or Google Play.

“Every year, more Tennesseans are taking advantage of the convenience and flexibility of our generous early voting period,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “I encourage you to make your voice heard.”

Tennessee voters need to bring valid photo identification to the polls. A driver’s license or photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Tennessee state government or the federal government is acceptable even if expired. A student ID or out-of-state driver’s license is not acceptable. For more information about what types of IDs are permitted, visit GoVoteTN.gov.

“With early voting, many Tennesseans can choose the time and location to cast their ballot,” said Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins. “And by casting your ballot early, you can avoid election day crowds and help reduce wait times for yourself and other voters.”

The Secretary of State’s office is Tennessee’s trusted source for accurate election information. For the latest information about the Nov. 8 election, follow the Secretary of State’s social media channels Twitter: @SecTreHargett, Facebook: Tennessee Secretary of State and Instagram: @tnsecofstate.
For more information about early voting, visit GoVoteTN.gov or call the Division of Elections toll-free at 1-877-850-4959.

Come for the beer, stay for the archives?

A party for the archives, downtown Nashville around 1900. (Image credit: Tennessee State Library and Archives)

Going to the Octoberfest celebration in Nashville’s Germantown neighborhood this weekend? The Secretary of State’s Office is inviting revelers to also make a stop at the new nearby State Library & Archives building. What could go wrong?

Here’s the release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State Library & Archives is hosting a Second Saturday Open House on Saturday, Oct. 8, during Nashville Oktoberfest, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with guided tours offered at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

“In our new location on Bicentennial Mall, we are fortunate to be in the middle of some of Nashville’s biggest events,” said Jamie Ritter, Tennessee State Librarian and Archivist. “We invite everyone attending Nashville Oktoberfest to stop by our open house and learn more about the incredible history of our great state.”

During the open house, guests are invited to explore the Library & Archives’ interactive exhibit lobby, highlighting some of the state’s most precious historical documents, including Tennessee’s three Constitutions. The guided tours will give guests a behind-the-scenes look at the state-of-the-art conservation lab, grand reading room and high-tech Automated Storage and Retrieval System.

This family-friendly event is free to the public.

The Library & Archives, a division of the Department of State, collects and preserves books, journals, maps, photographs, records and other documents of historical and reference value, focusing on items about Tennessee and Tennesseans.

The Library & Archives is located at 1001 Rep. John Lewis Way N., in Nashville. The exhibit lobby is open to the public Monday to Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT. The library, microfilm and manuscripts reading rooms are available for research Tuesday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT.

The Library & Archives parking garage will be inaccessible due to Nashville Oktoberfest road closures from Wednesday, Oct. 5 to Saturday, Oct. 8. Patrons are encouraged to plan their research trips accordingly.

For more information about the Library & Archives, call 615-741-2764, email ask@tsla.libanswers.com or visit sos.tn.gov/tsla.

One more week to register to vote in November

The Secretary of State’s Office reminds that the deadline to register to vote in November’s election is Oct. 11.

Here’s the release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennesseans who want to cast a ballot in the Nov. 8 State and Federal General Election only have one week until the voter registration deadline on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

“The first step to making your voice heard on Election Day is registering to vote,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “With our convenient online voter registration system, it’s never been easier for Tennesseans to register to vote or update their registration.”
Registering to vote, updating or checking your registration status is fast, easy and secure with the Secretary of State’s online voter registration system, GoVoteTN.gov.

Using a computer, phone or tablet, any U.S. citizen with a driver’s license or a photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security can register in minutes at GoVoteTN.gov. Each submission is checked against the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s database. Voters can also download a paper voter registration application at GoVoteTN.gov.

Completed paper voter registration applications must be mailed to your local county election commission office or submitted in person. Mailed voter registrations must be postmarked by Oct. 11. 

Election Day registration is not available in Tennessee. 

Early voting for the Nov. 8 State and Federal General Election starts Wednesday, Oct. 19, and runs Monday to Saturday until Thursday, Nov. 3. The deadline to request an absentee by-mail ballot is Tuesday, Nov. 1.

The Secretary of State and county election commissions are Tennessee’s trusted sources for accurate election information. For the latest information about the Nov. 8 election, follow the Secretary of State’s social media channels Twitter: @SecTreHargett, Facebook: Tennessee Secretary of State and Instagram: @tnsecofstate.

For more information about registering to vote in Tennessee, go to GoVoteTN.gov or call the Division of Elections toll-free at 1-877-850-4959.

Early voting down so far from last two gubernatorial cycles

Early voting through the first six days of the period was down 23% compared with the last gubernatorial election cycle in 2018 and 22% from 2014. Republican turnout has been 24% less than four years ago, when Gov. Bill Lee was first nominated for governor in a competitive primary. Democratic early voting is down 30% over 2018.

Shelby County has seen the biggest increase in early voting — more than 5,000 more than in 2018 — amid a competitive race for district attorney general between incumbent Amy Weirich and Democratic challenger Steve Mulroy.

Republican voting has been down by 29% in the new 5th Congressional District, which is made up of parts of Davidson (-28%), Williamson (-21%), and Wilson (-52%), and all of Lewis (-16%), Marshall (-15%), and Maury (-25%) counties. But voting is up 2% compared with 2014.

Here’s the full breakdown from the Secretary of State’s office:

County2022Change
from 2018
Change
from 2014
Anderson2,135-30%-42%
Bedford949-56%-62%
Benton1,290-2%-20%
Bledsoe207-30%-61%
Blount3,230-22%24%
Bradley1,980-46%-45%
Campbell1,798-18%-11%
Cannon592-18%-29%
Carroll1,006-29%-23%
Carter1,256-43%-55%
Cheatham1,1467%-39%
Chester8907%-24%
Claiborne1,724-13%-7%
Clay77227%9%
Cocke1,86314%17%
Coffee2,289-19%-7%
Crockett241-63%-78%
Cumberland2,080-21%-29%
Davidson6,297-30%176%
Decatur969-5%-7%
DeKalb1,10820%6%
Dickson1,446-8%-33%
Dyer1,439-4%-32%
Fayette1,137-26%-40%
Fentress1,380-18%-17%
Franklin1,8953%7%
Gibson1,096-42%-24%
Giles1,309-28%-12%
Grainger307-47%-47%
Greene862-65%-67%
Grundy63425%-31%
Hamblen1,101-28%-6%
Hamilton6,380-23%-29%
Hancock191-20%-64%
Hardeman1,343-7%8%
Hardin708-53%-42%
Hawkins875-49%-49%
Haywood863-31%-27%
Henderson604-57%5%
Henry1,232-28%-28%
Hickman1,145-4%-22%
Houston8199%-6%
Humphreys9664%-34%
Jackson587-11%-8%
Jefferson766-55%-39%
Johnson1,094-27%-35%
Knox11,091-29%-21%
Lake553-5%-21%
Lauderdale1,65154%-5%
Lawrence2,10547%18%
Lewis678-28%-37%
Lincoln1,24129%-26%
Loudon2,585-35%17%
Macon1,803-25%-5%
Madison2,730-31%-51%
Marion683-14%-24%
Marshall1,189-16%-41%
Maury2,769-35%-38%
McMinn914-48%-55%
McNairy858-37%-44%
Meigs435-33%-43%
Monroe1,433-48%-48%
Montgomery3,912-6%-27%
Moore471-24%29%
Morgan676-37%-49%
Obion1,287-35%-19%
Overton1,1656%-19%
Perry449-28%-13%
Pickett366-2%-48%
Polk78220%-41%
Putnam1,898-38%-48%
Rhea1,628-24%-22%
Roane2,328-21%-26%
Robertson1,646-39%-30%
Rutherford5,656-32%-21%
Scott1,696-11%-3%
Sequatchie504-63%-43%
Sevier751-68%-51%
Shelby28,15422%3%
Smith977-26%-32%
Stewart1,251-5%-16%
Sullivan1,477-72%-74%
Sumner2,558-38%-12%
Tipton1,330-32%-38%
Trousdale703-9%-18%
Unicoi348-53%-58%
Union471-40%-34%
Van Buren50778%39%
Warren2,307-15%18%
Washington2,203-35%-32%
Wayne975-8%-18%
Weakley1,242-33%-35%
White977-31%-29%
Williamson3,907-28%47%
Wilson3,186-55%-35%
Cumulative174,507-23%-22%

Here are the counties holding primaries for school board

Under a new law passed last month, county parties can decide whether to hold primaries for school board elections rather than going with nonpartisan contests. According to Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office, Republican primaries will be held 56 counties along with Democratic ones in 32.

Here is the full list:

Republican primariesDemocratic Primaries
AndersonBlount
BedfordBradley
BentonCarroll
BlountCarter
BradleyCoffee
CannonDavidson
CarrollDeKalb
CarterFayette
CheathamHamblen
ChesterHamilton
CoffeeHardeman
CrockettHawkins
CumberlandJefferson
DavidsonKnox
DecaturLoudon
DeKalbMadison
FayetteMarion
FranklinMcMinn
GraingerMonroe
GreeneMontgomery
HamblenObion
HamiltonPolk
HardemanRobertson
HardinSevier
HawkinsSmith
HendersonSullivan
HumphreysSumner
JeffersonWashington
KnoxWeakley
LawrenceWhite
LoudonWilliamson
MaconWilson
Madison
Marion
McMinn
Meigs
Monroe
Montgomery
Obion
Overton
Polk
Putnam
Rhea
Robertson
Rutherford
Sevier
Smith
Sullivan
Sumner
Tipton
Van Buren
Washington
Weakley
White
Williamson
Wilson
Rep. Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka), second from right, was a main sponsor of the partisan school board bill.

Hargett signs letter opposing federal voting bill

Secretary of State Tre Hargett speaks with Rep. Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville) before Gov. Bill Haslam’s final State of the State address on Jan. 29, 2018 in Nashville. (Photo credit: Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Tennessee’s Tre Hargett has signed onto a letter from from Republican secretaries of state opposing legislation in congress aiming to set national voting guidelines. The letter is written by John Merrill of Alabama and signed by 15 other top state election officials.

The letter comes as Tennessee’s Attorney General Herbert Slatery has also joined Republican colleagues from other states in opposing the legislation.

Dear Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, and House Minority Leader McCarthy:

We are writing you today to urge you to reject the “For the People Act” otherwise known as H.R. 1 or S. 1, which is a dangerous overreach by the federal government into the administration of elections.

Each state legislature should have the freedom and flexibility to determine practices that best meet the needs of their respective states. A one-size-fits-all approach mandated by Congress is not the solution to any of our problems.

These bills intrude upon our constitutional rights, and further sacrifice the security and integrity of the elections process. We firmly believe the authority to legislate and regulate these changes should be left with the states.

H.R. 1 and S. 1 blatantly undermine the extensive work we, as election officials, have completed in order to provide safe, accessible voting options for our constituencies. Many of the proposed practices would reverse the years of progress that has been made. We are strongly opposed to these bills and hope you will dismiss efforts to advance this legislation.

Thank you for your consideration and attention to this matter.

/SIGNED/

John H. Merrill
Alabama Secretary of State

Kevin Meyer
Alaska Lieutenant Governor

Brad Raffensperger
Georgia Secretary of State

Connie Lawson
Indiana Secretary of State

Scott Schwab
Kansas Secretary of State

Michael Adams
Kentucky Secretary of State

Kyle Ardoin
Louisiana Secretary of State

Bob Evnen
Nebraska Secretary of State

Alvin A. Jaeger
North Dakota Secretary of State

Steve Barnett
South Dakota Secretary of State

Tre Hargett
Tennessee Secretary of State

Mac Warner
West Virginia Secretary of State

Ed Buchanan
Wyoming Secretary of State

Paperwork for mystery vendor appears to have been improperly filed in registered agent’s name

Phoenix Solutions, the campaign vendor that has come under scrutiny following an FBI raid on Tennessee lawmakers last month, appears to have improperly filed its application to do business in the state.

A Spokane, Wash.-based company called Northwest Registered Agents LLC had been hired to originally register Phoenix Solutions in New Mexico in November 2019. When the company filed its papers with the Tennessee Secretary of State four days later, it submitted an electronic signature in the name of the same Northwest employee, Morgan Noble. The problem is that Noble did not submit the latter filing for Phoenix Solutions, according to her employer.

“We did not do that,” Jed Smith, a spokesman for Northwest Registered Agent LLC, told The Tennessee Journal. “It was unauthorized.”

The company remains a client of Northwest in both New Mexico and Tennessee, but Smith said “we weren’t hired” for registration purposes in the latter.

Phoenix Solutions did $231,144 worth of business with Tennessee Republicans — almost entirely from House members — in the year since emerging on the scene. Rep. Robin Smith of Hixson, a former state GOP chair and then a freshman lawmaker, was a chief proponent of directing caucus business toward Phoenix Solutions.

Smith, newly elected Rep. Todd Warner (R-Chapel Hill), and former House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin) had their homes and offices searched by federal agents. Smith and Casada have declined to answer questions about whether they or former aide Cade Cothren (whose home was also searched) had any financial ties to Phoenix Solutions.

A phone number for Phoenix Solutions listed in invoices filed with the Tennessee General Assembly is disconnected.

Absentee voting well ahead of 2016 primary, nearing level of last presidential election

Secretary of State Tre Hargett speaks with Rep. Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville) before Gov. Bill Haslam’s final State of the State address on Jan. 29, 2018 in Nashville. (Photo credit: Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Requests for absentee ballots are well ahead of the number cast in the August 2016 primary and are already coming close to matching the levels of that year’s November presidential election, according to data gathered by The Tennessean‘s Joel Ebert and Carmel Kookogey.

The Secretary of State’s office said it doesn’t keep track of absentee ballot requests, referring the newspaper to local election commissions. The newspaper contacted officials in all 95 counties. Eighty provided information on how many mail-in ballots had been requested as of last week, nine refused to release data, and six did not respond.

A judge last month ordered the state to allow anyone who fears infection by the coronavirus to cast absentee ballots. The state is appealing that ruling, but it’s unlikely the Supreme Court will decide the issue before the Aug. 6 primary.

About 57,000 absentee ballots had been requested as of last week. That compares with about about 12,000 for the August 2016 primary and 64,000 for that year’s general election.

A look at the percentage difference between absentee ballot requests this year and the number cast in August and November 2016 follows after the jump.

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Deadline to register to vote in Aug. 6 primary is upon us

Image: Secretary of State’s office.

Tuesday is the deadline to register to vote for the Aug. 6 primary.

Registrations can be mailed or handed in to county election commissions or submitted online to through the Secretary of State’s website. Choosing the online route will make first-time voters ineligible to cast absentee ballots.

Early voting begins on July 17.

This year’s primary election includes a hard-fought contests for the Republican nominations to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) and U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Johnson City). There’s also several open races and contested primaries for state House and Senate seats.

Read the full text of Gov. Bill Lee’s second State of the State address

Gov. Bill Lee delivers his second State of the State address in Nashville on Feb. 3, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Here is the full text of Gov. Bill Lee’s second State of the State Address, as prepared for delivery on Monday evening:

Lieutenant Governor McNally, Speaker Sexton, Speaker Pro Tem Haile, Speaker Pro Tem Dunn, Members of the 111th General Assembly, Justices, Constitutional Officers, fellow Tennesseans:

It is an honor to once again be with you this evening.

Before I begin, Speaker Sexton, let me offer special congratulations to you on your election as Speaker.

I am looking forward to working with you during this session and in the years ahead as we make our state a leader in the nation.

Last year, I stood at this podium, newly inaugurated as the 50th Governor of Tennessee. It has been a rewarding year, far more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.

To serve Tennesseans, to help make their lives better, to help give them a better education, to help recruit and create good jobs, and to help make our state a leader in the nation, it has been a humbling and truly honorable experience.

To serve with you, the men and women of the General Assembly, has been a tremendous honor as well.

Thank you for your support during my first year, it means an awful lot to Maria and to me.

With all of the noise in our nation these days, whether it comes from Washington, or New York, or Hollywood, I can’t help but look across this room in Tennessee and be inspired.

Inspired by every man and woman in this chamber who sacrifices much and who is dedicated to their beliefs and to the service of their neighbors.

Thank you for what you do, and I look forward to working alongside each of you this session and in the years ahead.

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