|Voting rights in our country is a
serious matter and no one should ever be told how they should or should
not vote. Voting in Tennessee is even different than some other states.
Here in Tennessee we can vote for whomever we want regardless of party
affiliation. In Tennessee we do not have to register to vote by party.
If we want to vote for a republican in one primary and a democrat in the
next, we can.
Unfortunately, it looks like the state election commission is attempting to eliminate that, at least for local county election commissioners.
Each county has 5 appointed election commissioners. Three from the majority party of the state legislature and two from the minority party. Currently, that means three republican members and two democrats. These members are recommended by their respective parties, (R) or (D) and appointed by the local state representatives.
Shortly after last May's primary, the state election commission informed the local election commissions that local election commissioners, whether (R) or (D), would not be allowed to cross over in primary election to vote for a candidate in the opposing party and if they did, they would be removed from their position. For instance, here in Loudon County in the May primary, there was only one democrat on the entire ballot and that was in only one district. So if any voter from six of the seven districts wanted their vote to count for anything, they would have to vote in the republican primary or not vote at all. That includes election commissioners who are also Loudon County residents. I'm sure out in west Tennessee, there could be the same situation the other way.
To me, it just seems wrong that any agency could prohibit an employee or official from casting a ballot for any candidate they feel is the best candidate for the job. If their was ever a case of a voter being disenfranchised, this would have to be it. Just because someone agrees to serve in an appointed position should not mean they have to give up their right to vote their conscience.
I would call on our state officials to look into this matter to see if it this issue could be resolved or at least make exceptions in certain circumstances.