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Opinion Piece: Playing Politics with People’s Lives

-Krystle James

On August 25th, the TN GOP announced on social media “Most. Republicans. Ever” followed by a near solid red map of the state of Tennessee revealing the counties that will be holding both local primaries and judicial primaries. Regardless of your political affiliation or even interest in politics, you should be alarmed at the cost of these primaries because it’s coming from your taxpayer pocket.

What are some of the costs tucked into a local primary?

Polling place locations, personnel, voter information dissemination, ballot printing, cyber security protection, as well as keeping up with changing state legislation regulating elections. Cheatham County taxpayers alone will be paying between $20,000-$25,000 to host the 2022 local primaries.

The decision to host a local primary comes from the Democratic and Republican Party leaders.

In Tennessee, third parties are still being denied equal ballot access. Regardless of whether Independents choose to vote in these exclusively bipartisan races, they have to pay. Furthermore, most local elections struggle to produce candidates. Many races, such as alderman and roads supervisor, have uncontested candidates.

What is the solution to this reckless bipartisan spending?

Civic engagement. In the same way we have shown up to town meetings to protest the imbalance in infrastructure with Cheatham County’s development growth, we need to contact our local party leadership and tell them that stealing from our pocketbooks to pay for their party games is “playing politics with people’s lives.” If the parties want to host primaries, they need to fundraise for their pet projects amongst themselves.

Political Activism. If your ideology and solutions conform to the two party platforms, get involved in your local meetings. Greater participation can lead to solutions such as caucusing, where candidates can be selected within the party.

Know your candidates. An “Independent” candidate on the ticket forces us to ask the question, ‘what do they believe in?’ However, there is also a rainbow spectrum within both the Democrats and Republicans. When your candidates come knocking next year, ask the hard questions. How would their representation affect your life?

There’s still time to make an impact. November 19, 2021 is the last day to rescind calls for primaries.


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