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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Tennessee primaries: Student groups comment on upcoming elections

The Tennessee state and federal primary elections, where candidates will compete for their party’s nomination, will be held on August 4.
Miguel Beristain
The Tennessee State Capitol, as photographed on July 28, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Miguel Beristain)

Tennessee’s state and federal primary elections will be held on Aug. 4, and general elections will be held on Nov. 8. Positions up for election include the Governor of Tennessee, Tennessee House representatives, Tennessee senators and U.S. House representatives, as well as local judges and court clerks.

Tennessee offers both online and by-mail voter registration. Voter registration can be completed online through GoVoteTN. Voters can also print the State of Tennessee Voter Registration Form, fill it out and mail it to their local election office.

While the voter registration deadline for the Tennessee primaries was July 5, the registration deadline for the general election is Oct. 11. Tennessee voters can look up their registration status on the Voter Lookup website.

Voters can find their polling location using their address. Early voting for the Tennessee primaries was open until July 30. Absentee ballots, which must be returned by mail, can also be requested, if eligible. The deadline to request an absentee ballot was July 28. 

“One of the advantages of voting absentee is that you do have that ability to take your time and really research things,” senior Riya Doshi, president of Vandy Votes, said.

Voters will select which of their party’s candidates they want to receive a nomination for the general election. Tennessee is an open primary state, allowing individuals to vote in a single primary election—only one party—of their choice for all positions, regardless of their party affiliation. 

Davidson County comprises districts 50-56 and 58-60 within the Tennessee House of Representatives. Representative positions in all of these districts are up for election in 2022. Tennessee Senate districts 17, 19 and 21 are all within Davidson County and will also be up for election in 2022. 

Additionally, the fifth, sixth and seventh districts of Tennessee—in which parts of Davidson County are located—have openings on the ballot for the U.S. House of Representatives. Only two candidates, incumbent Republican Mark Green and Democrat Odessa Kelly, are currently registered for election in the seventh U.S. House district, while two Democrats, Randal Cooper and Clay Faircloth, along with incumbent Republican John Rose are registered in the sixth district. 

The fifth district has 10 candidates running for the Republican candidacy, but only one for the Democratic candidacy. The race comes after the fifth district’s Democratic incumbent, Jim Cooper, announced that he would not seek reelection in 2022. Cooper’s decision was made after a Nashville gerrymander was conducted, making the fifth district a potential Republican stronghold.

Senior Riley Black, vice president of administration for the Vanderbilt College Democrats, encourages Tennessee Democrats to not lose hope and continue voting, despite the new map being instated. 

“It’s deeply disappointing what the Tennessee Republican Party has done,” Black said. “But I don’t think this means that Democrats should just lay down their arms and let this redistricting process discourage them. It’s a big challenge, but I think we still need to do what we can to try our best to win these districts in the fall.”

Per Black, Vanderbilt College Democrats have not made any endorsements in the Tennessee primaries. Vanderbilt College Republicans has not made any endorsements either, according to senior Shane Mumma, president of Vanderbilt College Republicans (VCR). Mumma declined to comment further on the elections due to no one in VCR being a registered voter in Tennessee. 

Black highlighted Odessa Kelly, a Democrat running for election in the seventh district, as a strong and promising candidate.

“Her history as a community activist and her deeply compelling personal history showcases some of the strongest Democratic stars in Tennessee,” Black said. 

Doshi emphasized the importance of voting in the primaries, and said that, as a voter, it is important to “do your homework.” Specifically, she recommended researching candidates before the elections and learning about their platforms.

“Come up with a voting plan,” Doshi said. “Where are you going to vote? Are you going to vote early? Are you going to do it by mail?”

Recent Supreme Court decisions and Congressional bills have sparked controversies on both sides of the aisle. Recognizing this political climate, Doshi encourages voters to not give up.

“There is a lot of dialogue right now about how much voting can do,” Doshi said. “It’s important to stress that there is an importance in voting. As much as it sometimes feels that it’s a futile effort, there is an importance in getting the people you want elected.”

Sophomore Calvin Fontaine agreed with Doshi, stressing the importance of voting.

“The efforts for increased turnouts are helpful to give people a voice and a chance to place the people they want in charge,” Fontaine said.

Turbovote, a service sponsored by Democracy Works, is recommended by Vanderbilt and offers resources for students in need of voting assistance, such as voter registration help and election reminders.

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About the Contributors
Shunnar Virani
Shunnar Virani, Former Magazine Copy Editor
Shunnar Virani ('25) is majoring in computer engineering and law, history and society with minors in European studies and digital fabrication in the School of Engineering. When he isn't writing for The Hustler, he’s reading about intellectual history, exploring campus events and working on his computer science projects.
Miguel Beristain
Miguel Beristain, Senior Staff Photographer
Miguel Beristain (’24) is a philosophy and cellular and molecular biology double major in the College of Arts and Science from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. When not shooting for The Hustler, he can usually be found playing Magic the Gathering, exploring new restaurants or practicing guitar. He can be reached at .
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