Wilson County voters will have three opportunities to express their opinions at the polls in 2020. There are three scheduled elections for the year beginning with the March 3 Republican and Democratic Presidential Preference Primary, the Wilson County Republican Primary and the Wilson County sales tax referendum.
The Republican and Democratic Presidential Preference Primary will be to choose candidates and/or party delegates to their respective conventions. The Tennessee Republican Party and the Tennessee Democratic Party have their own rules about how someone becomes a presidential delegate or candidate. The Republican presidential delegates are decided by election and the Democratic presidential delegates are decided by party rules.
The Wilson County Republican Primary will choose the Republican candidates for Wilson County Property Assessor and candidates to fill vacancies in the General Sessions Division III judgeship, County Commission District 17, 15th Judicial District Public Defender and 15th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge. The winners of this Republican Primary election will appear on the Wilson County General Election ballot on Aug. 6, 2020.
A Primary Election is a nominating election. Voters participating in a Primary Election consider themselves Republicans or Democrats — there are no Primary Elections for Independents. Tennessee is an Open Primary state and voters do not register as members of a political party. Tennessee has two recognized parties — the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. In order to vote in the primary, voters are required to choose which party primary they wish to vote in. Of course, voters may vote in only one Party primary election.
Tennessee law says that, “A registered voter is entitled to vote in a primary election for offices for which the voter is qualified to vote at the polling place where the voter is registered if: The voter is a bona fide member of and affiliated with the political party in whose primary the voter seeks to vote; or, At the time the voter seeks to vote, the voter declares allegiance to the political party in whose primary the voter seeks to vote and states that the voter intends to affiliate with that party.”
A referendum to increase the sales tax in Wilson County will also be included on the March 3 ballot. This election is a General Election for Wilson County voters. Voters may choose to only vote in the Sales Tax Referendum election and not vote in either the Republican or Democratic Primary. Those choosing to vote in either primary will automatically receive the Sales Tax Referendum ballot.
The last day to register to vote in the March 3 elections is Feb. 3, 2020. Registering to vote is easy and secure using the Online Voter Registration link at www.WilsonElections.com.
“Whether taking advantage of Early Voting or voting on Election Day, to participate in the elections you must be registered to vote in Wilson County,” said Tammy Smith, assistant administrator of elections. “New residents of Wilson County can register to vote when they update their Tennessee Driver’s License, by downloading the form from our website, coming to our office at 203 East Main St. in Lebanon, or, the fastest and most secure way is, by registering online. We want to remind voters that have moved within the county since the last election to be sure and update their address and avoid any delay when they come to vote.”
Early Voting begins on Feb. 12, 2020, at the Election Commission office at 203 East Main St. in Lebanon, the Mt. Juliet Community Center at 1075 Charlie Daniels Pkwy., the Gladeville Community Center at 95 McCreary Road, the Lighthouse Church at 6141 Saundersville Road in Mt. Juliet, the Watertown Community Center at 8630 Sparta Pike, and on Feb. 24-25 at the Statesville WEMA station at 7239 Greenvale Road in Norene.
All Early Voting locations will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. (Lighthouse Church closes at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays) and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Taking advantage of Early Voting has become a tradition in Wilson County, allowing voters to choose a day, time and location that is convenient and to avoid the possibility of inclement weather, lines or other delays on Election Day.
On Election Day, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, Wilson County voters may vote at one of the 18 convenient vote centers. Vote Centers are located throughout the county at sites easily accessible and convenient to where voters work, live, shop or travel. There is no longer an assigned polling place on Election Day.
“Our goal is to make the voting experience the best it can be for Wilson County voters,” said Phillip Warren, administrator of elections. “With five Early Voting locations open six days a week, an efficient and streamlined voting process, a state of the art voting system with a paper ballot that voters can hold in their hands and verify before casting, and the introduction of Vote Centers on Election Day we continue to enhance the experience each election cycle.”
The Election Commission is eager to answer any voting and election-related questions. To learn more about registration, Early Voting and for all the details about Vote Centers, contact the Wilson County Election Commission at 615-444-0216 or online at www.Wilsonelections.com.