The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

MARCH  2006

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.

The People News
Special Report






It's Your Government - Choose Wisely

by Alexandra Edwards

For those citizens of Bradley County that are not yet registered to vote, now is the time to go and pick up a voters registration form. Registering to vote is simple, you can go directly to the Bradley County Election Commission, located in the court house annex at 155 Broad Street (opposite the Court House), first door on the left as you go through the lobby, or the Post Office which is on the right as you enter the annex. Other convenient locations to register are at the Register of Deeds and County Clerks offices in the Court House, first floor, also the main post office on Keith Street, Bradley, Cleveland and Walker Valley High Schools,  Armed Forces Recruiting office on 25th street, the public library 795 Church St. and many other governmental offices around town. Just walk in and ask to register to vote.

To be eligible to vote you must be be a United States citizen, a resident of Bradley County, must be 18 years or older by the date of the next election and must not have been convicted of a felony. The voters registration must be completed at least 30 days before an upcoming election. The next election will be the Bradley County "Primary" election on May 2, 2006, so the last day to register to vote in that election will be April 1. Once registered, provided your

Alexandra Edwards

name or address do not change, you can vote in the rest of the upcoming elections. It's as simple as that.

This year Cleveland and Bradley County citizens will get a chance to decide who they wish to represent them in almost all of the local government departments, an event that typically only occurs every four years. Now is a good time to learn as much as you can about each candidate through announcements, advertisements, fund raising events, televised debates and interviews from the local media. However, it is a good idea not to let your decision be clouded by local media gossip or mud slinging. Instead, if you have any questions or concerns, call the candidate personally and get their side of the story before you go to the

polls. Telephone numbers of all the candidates are available to the public and can be picked up from the Election Commission or are printed in the local telephone directory under the candidate's name.

So as not to confuse the new voter with numerous dates and deadlines for all 2006 elections, this article will concentrate on the upcoming May 2  Primary Election.

A voter registration form in Tennessee does not require that you register by political party. However, in a Primary election, though any eligible voter, regardless of party affiliation, may vote, the voter will need to declare a party. As Bradley County government officials and the State officials are elected by party i.e.; Republican or Democrat, there needs to be a "Party Primary" election. A Primary is a preliminary election. Its purpose is to narrow down the candidates of each political party to one individual for a specific office (two in the case of Bradley County commissioner). The individuals that obtain the most votes, advance to the General Election. Hence, the Primary determines which Democrat and which Republican will run against each other in the final election. So, the Primary Election is an extremely

important election, often deciding who will take office especially if the opposing party or the independents are weak candidates.

On arriving at the polling station, the voter will be asked whether they want either a Republican ballot or Democrat ballot. This is no problem for people that vote strictly along party lines, but for those who do not necessarily vote straight party but rather for the best candidate, it can become a little confusing. Therefore, it is very important that you know before you enter the polling station, whether you are going to need a Republican ballot or Democrat ballot in a primary election. Many voters do not realize that not all the candidates they intend to vote for will be on the same ballot. Therefore it is wise to first make a list of the candidates selected, along with their party affiliation and order of personal preference. The list will make it easier to determine which party ballot you will require. Many voters wrongly

believe that if they vote their preferred party candidates first, they can vote for the other party candidates on their list in the next General election, not realizing that unless they are one of those fortunate enough to be elected in the primary, they will be out of the race. By voting for one party in the primary election does not mean you cannot vote for another party in the general election but unfortunately, choosing a party at the primary will prevent you from voting for a candidate from the  other party.

There will also be some "independent" candidates in the 2006 elections. These candidates will therefore not appear on either of the party primary election ballots but will go directly to the general elections along with those candidates elected in the primary.

As government officials of the City of Cleveland and Charleston, as well as the city and county school boards are "nonpartisan," (not elected by party affiliation), these offices will

be decided without a primary in the General Election this summer.

Although the official voting date for the Bradley County Primary is May 2nd. Early Voting has been scheduled between April 12th to April 27th from 9 to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. This makes it convenient to vote at the following locations in the temporary buildings which will be located at the Bradley Square Mall main entrance by J C Penney's, and  at the Bi-Lo shopping Center APD 40 and Dalton Pike or if you are downtown, at the Election Commission office, 155 Broad St. However, after April 27th the voter can vote only at their designated precinct on election day, May 2nd, where the polls will be open from 8 am. to 8 p.m. Whether you vote early or on election day, don't forget to take with you your voter registration card or driver's license.

The entire process of registering to vote and actually voting is simple and takes up so little time. There are always people employed at all the above locations who's primary purpose is to assist you the voter.

For all voting information including samples of the May 2nd primary election ballots, contact the Election Commission at 728-7115 or e-mail
or go to their website

Go vote and do your part for  the future of America