Several voters have apparently expressed some confusion about their options during early voting and, for that matter, on Election Day, August 5.
Most of the confusion arises from the .fact that there are in essence two different and simultaneous elections, a countywide general election and a primary election for state and federal candidates.
Republican voters wishing to cast crossover votes in the Democratic primary for Congress in the 9th district would fear to do so, thinking they would then be deprived of the opportunity to vote for, say, Mark Luttrell, the Republican nominee for county mayor.
Conversely, Democrats living in Germantown (and yes, there are some) might want to cast a ballot in the hotly contested Republican primary for governor but worry that they could not then vote for Democrat Joe Ford for mayor.
Not to worry. In races for county offices, the party primaries, in which one had to choose between voting a Republican ballot or a Democratic ballot, were held in May. They’re all over with, and anybody, regardless of their own party affiliation, can vote for any candidate in those contests — Republican, Democratic, or independent.
The same openness holds for judicial races, which are non-partisan. They are on all Shelby County ballots.
The situation is different for the state and federal primary races on the ballot. To vote for governor or for Congress or in one of the legislative races, you have to choose between a Democratic or a Republican ballot. But, whichever way you choose, you can still vote for anybody running for a county office, be they Republican or Democrat.
So, no, you can’t vote in both of the hot-button races — the Cohen-Herenton matchup in the 9th District Democratic primary AND the hotly contested three-way for governor between Bill Haslam, Zach Wamp, and Ron Ramsey in the Republican gubernatorial primary.
But whichever way you decide to go in t hose races, you’ll still get to vote for all the countywide offices — mayor, sheriff, and all the clerkships — and for all the judicial positions.
One more matter: There are several races for the Shelby County School Board. Those are confined to voters in the affected districts of the county.