There are too many races, at least 70, in the Aug. 7 election for even the savviest of voters to keep straight. Despite that daunting number and the more than 100 candidates who will appear on the ballot, there are a few things going in confused voters’ favor (count me among them).

First, many of the races are uncontested. Second, not every race will appear on your ballot because they occur in different legislative districts. That definitely makes the decision-making process easier when you’re at the ballot box. But how do you discern who’s who in this final stretch?

Here are a few tips for navigating the flood of direct mail, phone calls, campaign signs and news stories between today and Thursday. released its Hamilton County Election Guide last week, which breaks down each race and provides information about the candidates. Our guide includes survey responses from more than 70 candidates for statewide and local races.


In the same vein, UnifiED, a local organization focused on education, has responses from most of the school board candidates on pressing issues facing the public school system.

Know which primary you’re voting in and the districts you live in. This election includes Democratic and Republican primaries for a slate of federal and state races. The winners of those contests will represent their parties in the November election. You can vote in either primary you wish in Tennessee, but not both.

To find out which state and county districts you live in, the Hamilton County Election Commission has an online form. It’s a little clunky, but it works.

When I voted over the weekend, I thought I had a good handle on what to expect. Turns out I had overlooked just how many retention questions there are for Tennessee judges. Most of the news coverage on this has focused on three state Supreme Court justices, but there were many, many more I had forgotten about.

It takes a while to fill out the ballot, which means longer lines at precincts. The longest wait times will be at 8 a.m. and 5-8 p.m., when precincts close.

Luckily, most of them serve coffee.