“Voting is the foundation stone for political action.”
We have pulled together this information in the hopes of creating a clearer picture of just who we vote for and when we vote for them. If you take just the executive and the legislative branches of government on the Federal, State, and Local level, you have 14 elected officials to vote for (if you live in Memphis). For each office, we aim to answer a few questions.
Who? For the President, Governor, or Mayor the answer can be easy. However, for the various legislative bodies, that can be a bit more difficult. You have your U.S. Congress with 3 legislators, your Tennessee General Assembly with 2, your County Board of Commissioner with 1, and your City Council members where you have 1 member for your district but also 3 members for your super district. And each entity has completely different district boundaries. It can get a bit overwhelming. So we hope to break this down for each elected office so you can easily find out who is representing you.
Area Served? For each representative on a governing body, it is useful to know just who else they are representing. Again, this can get overwhelming since the boundaries are completely different for each governing body. You may find yourself grouped together with neighbors that are miles away somewhere in West Tennessee. You may find yourself close to midtown with a district that winds its way all the way to Germantown and Cordova. You may be in southwest Memphis grouped together with people on the outskirts of Millington. We hope to make it easy to find out just exactly what your districts look like for the various governing bodies.
Term Limits? Does the current office holder have a 2 year, 4 year, or 6 year term? Can they run for office forever or do they have a limit? This varies according to each office.
Next Election? With so many elected officials with various terms and staggered election years, it can be difficult to know just when someone is up for re-election. If you wait for election time, you will be overwhelmed with so much information that you may not know who exactly is running until you’re in the voting booth, and that experience generally leads to a passed up opportunity to vote for someone who will be representing you for the next several years.
For instance, in the 2016 and 2014 elections, more than a third of the people who actually voted in the elections in Shelby County passed on voting for their State Legislatures. They voted for candidates higher up on the ballot but passed on the lower offices. An informed electorate will result in better representation for all of us, and better representation is a cornerstone of our country.