By EMILY R. WEST
Early voting totals hinted as much, but the Williamson County participation on Thursday made it clear: residents weren’t so interested in the primary election.
Williamson had 24 contested candidates on the ballot. There were seven school board races and two House district Republican primaries. But that only generated a 12 percent turnout in the form of 17,589 votes.
“We had anticipated a larger Election Day turnout based on the early voting figures,” Williamson County Administer of Elections Chad Gray said. “However, we had more ballots cast during early voting than on Election Day, which has only happened during presidential elections in the recent past. It was very disappointing.”
House District 63 had an uncontested Republican and an uncontested Democrat who will go straight to the November ballot. Franklin Special School District board candidates also faced no contest.
Here’s the turnout for each House district:
61 – 5,548 votes cast (11.3 percent)
63 – 4,471 votes cast (8 percent)
65 – 5,508 votes cast (12 percent)
When looking at the 43 precincts, Brentwood had the most participation at Brenthaven Church with 937 votes. In Franklin, the Westhaven Clubhouse came in second with 832. Most of the precinct totals showed less than 500 voters.
Sticking with early voter trends, 80 percent of the county voted Republican, though those were the only contested primaries in partisan races. An additional 16 percent voted Democrat for either 63’s Courtenay Rogers or 65’s Holly McCall.
The Tennessee Democratic Party lauded their efforts on social media Thursday night.
“Throughout the primary election, Democratic candidates from all across the state have proven that they are ready to lead and are working for ordinary Tennesseans,” Tennessee Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary Mancini said. “Their focus on government ethics and oversight, access to quality and affordable healthcare, equal pay for equal work, quality public education for all, equal access to the ballot box, and real criminal justice reform, are just some of the serious issues Tennesseans really care about.”
In the 15 precincts of House District 61, at least 1,036 voted Democratic despite the fact there was no candidate running on the ballot, suggesting that those voters only cared about the Williamson County School Board races.
With voter participation low, some of the seven races were tight. District One, which encompasses Fairview and west Williamson County, was decided by 91 votes.
The rest of the races were decided by an average of 329 votes.
Here’s the breakout per board district:
District One: 1,297 out of the 10,392 registered
District Three: 1,045 out of the 11,014 registered
District Four: 1,423 out of the 13,044 registered
District Five: 1,430 out of the 13,099 registered
District Seven: 2,119 out of the 12,948 registered
District Nine: 2,093 out of the 12,935 registered
District Eleven: 1,660 out of 10,065 registered