The City of Tullahoma will have its next municipal elections on Thursday, Aug. 1 of this year.
The Tullahoma Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously to officially set this year’s municipal elections for the first Thursday of August, which will also be the first day of the month.
According to a letter sent to the city by the Election Administrator of Coffee County, Andy Farrar, state statute requires notification of elections be given to the election commission “no less than 120 days” prior to an election being held. This would mean the city would have to give notice of an Aug. 1 election no later than Tuesday, April 2, of this year.
Farrar added that even though state law allows an April notification, the Coffee County Election Commission would “appreciate receiving the notice on or before Monday, March 18, 2019,” as that is when potential candidates may begin picking up qualifying petitions for the August election.
This year’s election ballot will be small, with only two alderman seats to be decided. According to the city’s website, only Mayor Pro-Tem Renee Keene and Alderman Jackie Duncan’s terms are up this year.
Keene has served on the board of mayor and aldermen for the city since 2013. She was elected as Mayor Pro-Tem in August of 2018.
Duncan has also served on the city board since 2013. In addition to serving the city in an aldermanic capacity, he also serves on a county basis as the commissioner from District 19.
Should they be re-elected, they would both embark on their third consecutive term on the city board; however, both still have time to decide if that’s what they would like to do.
Potential candidates for the seats won’t be able to pick up qualifying petitions until March 18, giving both Duncan and Keene more than a month to decide on a possible re-election campaign.
In order to qualify as a candidate for aldermen, candidates must be “resident citizens” of Tullahoma and at least 18 years of age, according to the city charter.
Once qualifying petitions have been picked up, candidates must acquire 25 registered signatures on their petitions and turn them in.
Candidates may use signatures from any citizen who is registered to vote in the Tullahoma municipal elections, Farrar said.
Candidates have from March 18 to noon on May 16 to get their qualifying signatures and turn in their petitions, according to Farrar.
If only two candidates turn in qualifying petitions, Farrar said there will not be an early voting period. Should more than two candidates turn in petitions, an early voting period will be held.
According to Farrar, the potential lack of an early voting period is a cost-saving measure.
“If there’s no opposition, there’s no reason to spend the money to have an early election,” he said.
Erin McCullough may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.