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Did you see the sample ballot in the Times Free Press last Friday?

That's right, it's time for sample ballots, which means it's time to fill out ballots, which means it's time to remember Junior Samples' ballads.

Scratch that last one. If you did not see the sample ballot, well, you may be surprised to learn that early voting starts Wednesday. Yes, this Wednesday.

Plus, if you did not see the ballot, know the following things:

One, there was a lot of white there. (No, not the names. Well, yes, the names, but that's not what I meant. There was a lot of white space in the Democratic sample ballot because there are a couple more decisions to make on the Republican side in this primary election.

Of course the headline race is the presidential primary, which featured a heated race among Democrats for primary votes and a baby-seal beating on the GOP side.

The names on the left are familiar. And they have the same chance as Pepsi Zero come November.

Those Democrats scrambling for Tennessee delegates are like piñatas racing to be the next choice at a kids party, right? Sure, you get picked, but then when the party starts, you get your brains beat in.

But maybe the most telling item on the sample ballot was a local election that makes this particular primary race good for four more years.

Gang, we are electing our county assessor of property, starting Wednesday. Seriously.

Incumbent Assessor of Property Marty Haynes and current Hamilton County Commissioner Randy Fairbanks are going head to head — literally and figuratively — for the four-year post of telling us how much our residential and commercial property is worth.

Without a Democrat on the ballot, the outcome of this primary will be the outcome. Period.

So if you pull a Democrat primary ballot, you will not get a say in the county assessor race. Yes, seriously.

The property assessor line on the Democrat primary ballot has a spot for write-ins, which made me think "Hey, let's drum up a 'write in Andy Berke' campaign" for county property assessor.

I mean, Andy's going to need a job pretty soon, right?

Well, turns out even write-in candidates need to let the powers that be know they want to be counted (and that they are qualified). Maybe this should be called the Basil Marceaux Mandate.

As for closing the loophole, this is from Hamilton County Elections Administrator Kerry Steelman:

"For a candidate to appear on the ballot he/she must submit a nominating petition with the requisite number of approved signatures prior to the statutory qualifying deadline. A person seeking to be elected by write-in ballot must file a certificate of write-in candidacy no later than 12:00 noon on the 50th day before the election to have his/her write-in votes counted."

Sorry, Mayor Berke. Here's hoping you can find another way to make the ends meet.

Who knew in the end that voting Democratic in this county and this state would be more meaningless in the county assessor race than it is in the presidential race?

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Jay Greeson

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com.

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