Early voting begins next week

Voters line up to cast their ballots at the Rhea County Welcome Center in Dayton during a previous election. The county general election and state primary election are set for Aug. 6, with early voting beginning next week.

Early voting for the upcoming Aug. 6 state primary and county general election begins next week on Friday, July 17.

Early voting will take place from July 17 to Aug. 1 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rhea County Election Commission near the courthouse. Early voting will also be available on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon during the early voting period.

Early voting will also be taking place at the Spring City Municipal Building from Monday, July 20, through Saturday, July 25. Polls will be open in Spring City 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Rhea County Administrator of Elections Tom Davis said that July 30 is the last day to process requests for absentee ballots.

The upcoming Aug. 6 election includes both the Democratic and Republican state primaries and the county general election.

On the Democratic side of the primaries, Marquita Bradshaw, Gary Davis, Robin Kimbrough, James Mackler and Mark Pickrell are vying for the Democratic Party nomination for Senate. Democrats Noelle Bivens and Christopher J. Hale are running in the race for Democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives.

No Democrat is seeking the office of District 12 state senator this election, and Dean Sparks is seeking the Democratic nomination for the District 31 seat in the state House of Representatives.

On the Republican side, Clifford Adkins, Natisha Brooks, Byron Bush, Roy Dale Cope, Terry Dicus, Tom Emerson Jr., George Flinn Jr., Bill Hagerty, Jon Henry, Kent A. Morrell, Glen Neal Jr., John Osborne, Aaron Pettigrew, David Shuster and Manny Sethi are seeking the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate.

In the Republican primary for the U.S. House, incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais is facing challengers Doug Meyer and Randy Sharp.

In the Republican primary for state senator and state representative, both State Sen. Ken Yager and State Rep. Ron Travis are both running unopposed in the primary.

The Aug. 6 election is also the county general election with various county office seats up for grabs.

Voters is District 7 will be voting in a special Rhea County Commission election where Jim Vincent and Masen Cheeks are facing off for the seat. Vincent was appointed to the position after the passing of longtime Rhea County Commission Ronnie Raper. Per state law, a special election must be held during the next county general election.

Also on the ballot will be Rhea County Assessor of Property Debbie Byrd and Rhea County Road Supervisor, both of who are running unopposed.

In school board races, B.J. McCoy, Bimbo McCawley, Brenda Hill and Chip Pendergrass are all running unopposed. In the District 6 race for school board, Wayne Cox and incumbent Carroll Henderson are vying for the position.

Spring City residents will see a longer ballot than other voters throughout the county, as Spring City residents will be voting in the mayoral election, as well as for two city commission seats.

In the mayoral race, Pam Burger Anderson, Woody Evans, Bailey Hufstetler, Reba Murphy and Jason Price are all vying for the position. For the two Spring City Commission seats, voters will be asked to select two from the following: Lee Booker, Kevin Jenkins, Leon Locke and Jeff “Bimbo” Rhear.

Election officials said on Monday that the election commission will be taking steps to ensure the voting process is as safe as it can be while the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing.

“Voting will be normal if someone wants to vote in person,” Davis said. “We’ll be providing gloves, pen and an ‘I Voted’ sticker to each voter.”

Officials with the election commission and volunteers put together a packet containing those items that will be handed out to each voter. Voters will be asked to wear gloves while participating in the voting process, and the pen will be used to fill out each voters’ application for a ballot.

Davis said that poll workers will also be wearing protective gear, including masks and gloves, and sneeze guards will be put in place to protect both poll workers and voters.

For more information on the upcoming election, visit www.rheavote.com or call (423) 775-7816.