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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Ballots Already Being Cast for Nashville's Municipal Election

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Friday, July 21, 2023   

As municipal elections in Tennessee fast approach, groups are making an urgent push for more voter education in the Nashville metro area.

More than 4.5 million Tennessee voters could cast ballots in the Metropolitan General Election on Aug. 3.

Debbie Gould, president of the League of Women Voters of Tennessee, said so far, early voting turnout has picked up in some polling locations but not in others.

She added some Nashville residents are understandably undecided, especially about the mayor's race.

"There still are a fair number of people who are really uncertain who they want to vote for, which is, I think, reflects the fact that we have a lot of candidates who bring a lot of qualifications to the table," Gould explained. "I think the fact that we have, as of now, 11 candidates, is making it a tough choice for some people."

The early voting period for the primary ends July 29. Gould noted in case a runoff election is needed, it is already scheduled for Sep. 14. She pointed out voting early offers the flexibility of evening and Saturday hours, and allows people to avoid Election Day crowds and perhaps shorten their wait times at the polls.

Gould said Nashville's five at-large city council seats have 21 contenders, including two incumbents and several former district council members. Of the 35 district council seats, 16 have no competing incumbents. After Rep. Bill Beck's unexpected death this summer, there is a primary for his House District 51 seat, and House District 52 is also up for a vote.

"Which has been served by Rep. Justin Jones," Gould noted. "As you recall, he was one of the 'Tennessee Three' who was removed from office this spring, and he is in a race against Laura Nelson for House District 52."

The League of Women Voters and other organizations have held forums and televised town hall debates to help voters keep up with the candidates. Gould emphasized voters have expressed multiple concerns, from what they perceive as state legislative "overreach" in Nashville, to homelessness.

"There have been a number of issues -- and some of them again, going directly to some of the concerns that we have as a city -- about affordable housing, for example, and transit, and certainly the size of Metro Council," Gould outlined.

She added the League's website Vote411.org is where anyone can check their voter registration status, find their polling place and see the specific races on their ballot, along with candidate information.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.


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