published Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Voters head to polls today for primaries

POLLS OPEN

  • Georgia: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Tennessee: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

VOTING PROBLEMS

Let us know about any problems you have today at news@timesfreepress.com, or go to www.timesfreepress.com/vote.

HOTLINE

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee has created a toll-free election day hotline to help voters who encounter problems today. State election officials say those without appropriate photo ID will be allowed to cast provisional ballots, but must go to the county election commission and show photo ID within two days after the election or their votes won't count. The toll-free election day hotline number is 877-651-1999. The hotline will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. Voters also can access ACLU-TN's online Voting Rights Resource Center at www.aclu-tn.org/voting-rights-resource-center.html.

Poll
Will you vote today?

As Hamilton County voters head to the polls today, at least two candidates will make their final rounds in a heated local Republican primary for the County Commission District 3 seat.

Interim County Commissioner Mitch McClure, pastor at Middle Valley Church of God, faces Republican Marty Haynes, a lifelong Hixson resident who works in sales for Porter Warner.

The candidates have raised about $15,000 apiece -- enough to rent billboards and post dueling signs along one of the district's main arteries, Hixson Pike.

While the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries are on the ballot, "District 3 is really all that matters," McClure said.

McClure said he will visit polling locations all day, with the exception of an 11 a.m. swearing-in ceremony for new General Sessions Judge David Norton, chosen last week by the County Commission, and a funeral for a member of his congregation.

Otherwise, "I'll be rolling from precinct to precinct," McClure said.

Haynes said he plans to spend much of his day at polling sites in the Middle Valley area.

"We'll be moving from place to place to interact with as many voters as we can see," he said.

Three local races -- District 3, property assessor and county mayor -- are on today's ballot. The only two contested primaries are on the Republican side in special elections for the commission seat and mayor.

The special elections are being held because of vacancies created in the positions last January when former County Mayor Claude Ramsey became deputy governor of Tennessee and then-District 3 Commissioner Jim Coppinger was named as interim county mayor.

Coppinger is being challenged today in the Republican primary by contractor William Turner and perennial candidate Basil Marceaux Sr. Today's winner will face Democrat Richard "Rick" Wilson in August.

On ballots for the assessor's race will be Bill Bennett for Republicans and Jelena Butler for Democrats.

Contact staff writer Ansley Haman at ahaman@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6481.

about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

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