Compass Guide to the Aug. 4 Election

Compass Guide to the Aug. 4 Election

Early voting begins today. Here’s a look at the ballot and links to all of our campaign coverage.

July 16, 2022

Knox County Election Administrator Chris Davis has some words of warning for voters as early voting begins today in the Aug. 4 county general and state primary elections. 

“This ballot is huge,” Davis said. “People really need to do their homework if they don’t want to be in there for 15 or 20 minutes.”

Besides a raft of county races and a handful of state primary elections, there are 26 statewide retention elections for Tennessee judges. In retention elections, voters choose whether to keep judges in their current seats. In the historically rare case that the cumulative vote is no, the governor would appoint a new judge to fill the vacancy until the next general election.

The number of offices up for vote means that for the first time since the county switched to paper ballots in 2020, voters will be given two sheets of paper to mark, front and back. (You can see sample ballots on the Election Commission website.)

The August election typically sees lower turnout than the November general election, which features state and federal offices. Davis said about 80,000 ballots were cast in the August 2018 races, which included a fiercely contested Republican primary. He expects that number could drop substantially this year, maybe by as much as 25 percent. But it’s hard to know how factors like newly partisan school board races and passion over national and state issues could affect participation. 

“I don’t really know what to expect in terms of turnout,” Davis said.

Early voting continues through July 30 at 10 locations around the county, which you can see here. In general, they are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

Three locations — the City County Building, Karns Senior Center and Meridian Baptist Church in South Knoxville — have slightly different hours, so make sure to check the full schedule.

To assist with the homework that Davis recommends, here are links to all of our profiles of contested races. We still have a few more to come — district attorney general, 1st District school board and state Senate 7th District — which we will add links to here next week after they run. (Ed. Note — These have now been added.)

As a public service, we have moved all of these articles out from behind our paywall, so they are free to read and share.

Countywide Offices

County Mayor: After a first term that included tensions around the response to COVID-19, incumbent Glenn Jacobs seeks reelection against Democrat Debbie Helsley. 

District Attorney General: In the race for an eight-year term as the county’s top prosecutor, incumbent Republican Charme Allen faces Democrat Jackson Fenner.

Trustee: A well-connected Republican faces a challenge from a Democratic outsider for an open office. 

Circuit Court Clerk: Republican incumbent Charlie Susano faces Democratic newcomer Dana Moran to lead an office responsible for keeping courts running.

Register of Deeds: A Republican incumbent with a long history in the office faces a young Democratic challenger with an interest in history. 

General Sessions, Division I: A Democratic former prosecutor is challenging a Republican incumbent who has served three terms on the Knox County bench. 

County Commission

District 3: A Democratic newcomer and a Republican insider are running for a West Knox seat that’s long been in GOP hands.

District 10: A well-funded Republican incumbent faces a Democratic newcomer for an at-large seat in a battle of two moderates. 

District 11: Contending for an open at-large seat are two women with backgrounds as community advocates. 

School Board

District 1: A well-known Democrat faces off against two independent candidates to represent the county’s only majority-minority district.

District 4: An open seat in a politically mixed West Knoxville district draws two parents as candidates — one with a lot of money to spend.

District 6: An independent religious studies professor is taking on the Republican incumbent in the fast-growing district that includes Hardin Valley and Karns.

District 7: An independent candidate faces off against a Republican with a troubled track record for the open seat serving Halls and Powell.

District 9: The South Knox contest pits Republican board Chair Kristi Kristy against Democratic challenger Annabel Henley. 

State Legislature (primaries)

Senate District 7: Seeking a third term, incumbent Richard Briggs faces a Republican primary challenge from newcomer Kent Morrell.

House District 18: In a spirited contest, a City Council member and a Republican Party officer are competing for the GOP nomination.