Roy Exum: Voting Season Begins

Saturday, July 11, 2020 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

A most historic and unprecedented election will begin this Friday amid the coronavirus pandemic and may I dare say your vote in our August 6 primary and our November 3 general election has never been as important. It is time for the American people to decide our direction amidst hatred between liberals and conservatives, the stench of an overly biased media, the wrongful death of a felon resulting in billions of dollars in unlawful destruction, and a disease that in just four months has killed 136,621 Americans (668 yesterday.)

In the same four months politicians of every stripe have been forced to reveal their true selves and, more than not, the portraits are terribly unkind.

This year in Chicago there have been 1,918 people gunned down in the streets - 382 dead - and an elected Illinois leadership has done little to confront it. (This week’s figures are still ongoing but it's 94 shot, 26 killed since Sunday.)

Chattanooga? We are in the Top 20 among the “Most Dangerous Cities in the United States” and rank fourth among the worst-run cities in America. Yet the City Council just ruled racism is a public health problem, this instead of declaring murders are epidemic. Granted, the city elections aren’t until March but this August and this November elections will determine how the game will be played in March 2021.

In something akin to an infomercial, I have gathered information how “absentee balloting” works because it eliminates any and every excuse of why you should not take part in our Democracy. Last month in Nashville, a judge ruled that fear of the coronavirus was a valid reason for any Tennessee voter to vote absentee.

Our county election commission has installed an absentee portal on its website that makes the process easy. The point is every registered voter who sees what is happening on our local, state and nation level should be part of ‘we, the peoples’ solution in the years to come.

Here is how you can take part:

* * *


I am staunchly opposed to “mail-in voting” because birds of any feather will, and do, cheat. There are two clowns in New Jersey facing serious federal charges of violating absentee voting fraud after, unbelievably (!) more than 300 returns were discovered in the same mailbox. But I am very much in favor of “absentee voting” if it is done within the lawful rules because there are good reasons for it.

WARNING: Voter fraud carries a serious consequence. For instance, if someone named Sally Smith applies for an absentee ballot, and then submits another application as Sally Struthers – her maiden name – say a prayer for poor Sally.

The COVID-19 virus has changed the “absentee” voting landscape dramatically. Last month a Davidson County (Nashville) Chancery Court judge issued an order that ruled if you are a registered voter and do not wish to vote in person due to the COVID-19 situation, you are eligible to request an absentee ballot by mail. You also have the option to vote in person during early voting or on Election Day. (Needless to say, a registered voter cannot do both!). The Absentee Ballot Request Deadline is Thursday, July 30, 2020

On the Hamilton County Election Commission website, there is now a portal that is very prominent on the site’s home page. It reads “CLICK” To Access Absentee Ballot Application Web Portal. You easily fill it out on your computer. Then you must print it out because it must bear your personal signature. (E-signatures are not acceptable) Once completed, you can have the fully completed form delivered to the Hamilton County Election Commission in several different ways:

* -- It can be hand-delivered to the Election Commission at 700 River Terminal Road, which intersects with Amnicola Highway. The form does not have to be delivered by the voter. It can be delivered by a friend, an UBER driver, a taxi cab operator, your Sunday School teacher, a convicted felon … or anyone. Yes, multiple applications can be delivered at the same time. The commission’s offices are open from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

* -- You can mail the application. The mailing address is 700 River Terminal Road, Chattanooga, TN 37406-1736.

* -- You can fax the application. The Election Commission FAX number is 423/209-8686 (The main number is 423-209-8683 if you have questions.)

* -- You can email the application; remember it must include tour original signature to: If you email the application, the request must include: 

1. Name of the registered voter

2. Address of the voter's physical residence (Post office boxes are not permitted)

3.  Voter's social security number

 4. Voter's date of birth

  5.  Address to mail the ballot

  6. The election in which the voter wishes to participate. If the election involves a primary, the political party in which the voter wishes to participate. (You will specify August 2020 primary.)

 7. Reason the voter wishes to vote absentee. If applicable, a copy of the CDL (commercial driver’s license for over-the road truckers) containing the CDL number or the TWIC card must be included in the voter’s request.

8. Voter's signature (As a computer illiterate, I do not know how to email a personal signature. I invite you to call the Election Commission for instructions).

- - -

An absentee ballot request is for the August 6 election only. To obtain an absentee ballot for the November general election, requests for the presidential election cannot be received until August 5.

The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot in the August election is July 30. The deadline to register as a voter in the primary expired last week.

* * *


[Note: I live in the 27th District and I will vote as a Republican in the Thursday, August 6 election. I cannot vote in Districts other than mine and I cannot vote in the Democratic Primary. Therefore, I can only lend my suggestions.]


Unites States Senate – Manny Sethi 

House of Representatives – No Vote (Chuck Fleischmann is the candidate) 

Tennessee Senate – Todd Gardenhire (unopposed in the Primary)

Tenn. Representatives, District 27 – Robin Smith (unopposed in the Primary)

Tenn. Representatives, District 28 – No candidate qualified

Tenn. Representatives, District 29 – Mike Carter

Tenn. Representatives, District 30 – Ester Helton


Assessor of Property – Marty Haynes

General Sessions Judge, Division 3 – Gerald Webb, Jr.

County School Board, District 1 – Rhonda Thurman

County School Board, District 2 – Tom Decosimo

County School Board, District 4 – Tiffanie Robinson

County School Board, District 7 – Debbi Meyers

* * *


United States Senate – James Mackler (an attorney who once served with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division)

House of Representatives – Meg Gorman (unopposed in the Primary)

Tenn. Senate, 10th District – Glenn Scruggs

Tenn. House, 26th District – Joan Farrell 

Tenn. House, 27th District: No candidate qualified

Tenn. House, 28th District: Yusuf A. Hakeem

* * *

IN THE STATE GENERAL ELECTION, the question will be asked if Carma Denis McGee shall be retained or replaced as a Judge of the Court of Appeals, Western Division. I will vote she should be retained. (On April 10, 2019, Gov. Bill Lee (R) appointed McGee to succeed Brandon O. Gibson on the court. The Tennessee General Assembly confirmed McGee in April 2019. Justice Gibson stepped away from the Appeals Court bench in 2019 after Gov. Lee appointed her to serve in his administration.)

* * *


Starting Friday, July 17, until Saturday, August 1, 2020, early voting for the August 6 election will be held at four locations. Any registered voter in Hamilton County may use any of the four. Directions to each site are on the Election Commission website.

COMMON SENSE COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS: Before to arrive at any early voting site, please wash your hands with soap and hot water. You may wear gloves. You are strongly requested to wear a mask. Please maintain a six-foot distance. After you leave the polling site, wash your hands with soap and hot water. 

BRAINERD REC CENTER: 1010 North Moore Road. The polls will be open Monday- Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday hours 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

COLLEGEDALE CITY HALL: 4910 Swinyar Drive. Monday – Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

HAMILTON CO. ELECTION COMMISION: 700 River Terminal Road. Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

HIXSON COMMUNITY CENTER: 5401 School Drive. Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

* * *


"Not voting is not a protest. It is a surrender." – Keith Ellison Alan Moore

"People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people." – Alan Moore

“If not us, who. If not now, when” – John F. Kennedy.

“We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who don’t vote.” – George Jean Nathan

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." -- Plato

“The ballot is stronger than the bullet.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” – Pericles 

“Every election is determined by the people who show up.” -- Larry Sabato

“Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it.” – Susan B. Anthony





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