This year's terminal election — for a variety of positions and issues, local, state, and federal, including the presidency of the United States — has already begun, with the onset of early voting on Wednesday, October 19th, of this week. The early voting period will conclude on Thursday, November 3rd, and election day itself is Tuesday, November 8th.
Below is a list of the 21 early voting locations, all of which this year will keep the same hours — 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 22nd; and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 29th. The polling locations will be closed on Sunday, October 23rd, and Sunday, October 30th.
LOCATIONS (in alphabetical order:
Abundant Grace Fellowship Church, 1574 E. Shelby Drive
Agricenter International, 7777 Walnut Grove
Anointed Temple of Praise, 3939 Riverdale
Bellevue Baptist Church, 2000 Appling (Cordova)
Berclair Church of Christ, 4536 Summer
Dave Wells Community Center, 915 Chelsea
Ed Rice Community Center, 2907 Watkins
Glenview Community Center, 1141 S. Barksdale
Greater Lewis Street Baptist Church, 152 E. Parkway North
Greater Middle Baptist Church, 4982 Knight Arnold
Mississippi Blvd. Church-Family Life Center, 70 N. Bellevue Blvd.
Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 60 S. Parkway East
Raleigh United Methodist Church, 3295 Powers
Riverside Missionary Baptist Church, 3560 S. Third
Shelby County Office Building, 157 Poplar
White Station Church of Christ, 1106 Colonial
Waypoint (formerly Bethel) Church, 5586 Stage
Collierville Church of Christ, 575 Shelton
New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, 7786 Poplar Pike
The Refuge Church, 9817 Huff n Puff
Baker Community Center, 7942 Church
There are races on the ballot for the presidency, for Congress, and for state legislative positions. There are also elections for municipal and school board positions in Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, and Millington, as well as several referenda — on term limits (Lakeland ballot only), on revising distribution of utility-tax revenues (Memphis ballot only); on revising the Shelby County charter to give the County Commission co-authority with the county mayor on dismissal of the county attorney (countywide ballot); and on legalizing wine sales in grocery stores (unincorporated Shelby County only).
Ballots for all these circumstances are available at each early voting site. A sample ballot listing all races and referenda is available for inspection on the Shelby County Election Commission website at shelbyvote.com/documentcenter/view/1840.
• Even in an election season in which its own elective positions are not at stake, the Shelby County Commission manages to revel in politics — partly of the sort that has a bearing on future elections, partly of the sort that bears more on internal county-government power struggles.
Two cases of the latter sort were evident at Monday's public meeting. The first was a resolution asking the commission for an up or down vote on county Mayor Mark Luttrell's nomination of Kathryn Pascover, who has been serving on an interim basis, as the permanent county attorney.
Right off the bat was an extended interrogation of Pascover from Republican Commissioner Heidi Shafer, the current vice-chair of the body and something of an unofficial leader of an on-again/off-again commission majority determined to assert its prerogatives against those of Luttrell.
Shafer's questions covered the waterfront of possible interactions between the county attorney's office and the commission, but the essential thrust of all of them was whether Pascover would insist on precluding the commission's efforts to consult and be guided by its own legal sources and whether she regarded her office as the ruling legal authority on actions taken or contemplated by the commission.
Experienced lawyer that she is, Pascover gave guarded and somewhat equivocal answers to Shafer's questions, the essence of which was, as she stated in one of her answers, "I would have to look at particulars." But, on balance, she seemed to assert the overriding pre-eminence of her office on legal matters.
That was enough for Shafer to conclude, as she put it, "I will not be able to vote for Ms. Pascover. I do not believe the attorney general's opinion will bind a legislative body."
But Shafer's remarks were followed in short order by statements from three commissioners who, more often than not, have voted with her on matters of commission prerogatives vis-à-vis those of the county administration.
And all three — Democrats Van Turner, Reginald Milton, and Walter Bailey — either praised Pascover and/or said they saw no reason not to support her nomination. The final speaker was Republican Commissioner Mark Billingsley, sponsor of the resolution, who said the résumé of Pascover, a labor/management specialist who was most recently associated with the FordHarrison law firm, "speaks for itself."
It evidently spoke via the commission vote, which was unanimous for Pascover, save for Shafer's nay vote and an abstention from GOP Commissioner Terry Roland.
Time will tell whether the vote signaled a falling away from the confrontation with Luttrell — as suggested by Milton's statement at a previous meeting that he was "tired of the fight" — or merely a vote of confidence in Pascover itself. There may in fact still be a commission majority in favor of the body's possessing its own attorney — a matter of continuing dispute.
In any case, two ordinances before the commission for the second of three requiring readings, each of which called for greater say for the commission over Luttrell's appointive powers, were referred back to the commission's general government committee for a further once-over. That could mean merely a postponement of an inevitable reckoning, or it could mean a general lessening of passions.
Whatever the case, the commission came up with rare unanimity on three resolutions that in effect began a transition away from an out-sourced arrangement for ambulance services with American Medical Response (AMR), which had hit up the commission to approve a hefty fee increase. Funds were appropriated via the resolutions on behalf of a county-operated service.
Roland summed up the result of those votes: "Mr. Chairman, we're in the ambulance business."