Tennessee General Assembly Given Second Chance To Close Primaries

Image Credit: capitol.tn.gov

The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –

The General Assembly was given another chance to heed the will of voters regarding closing Tennessee’s primary elections when Representative Kelly Keisling (R-Byrdstown-District 38) presented House Bill 1045 (HB 1045) in the Elections & Campaign Finance Subcommittee yesterday.

Last week, a bill sponsored by freshman Representative Bryan Richey (R-Maryville-District 20) aimed at closing primaries in Tennessee failed in committee.

In his introduction of the bill, Keisling said, “We, as a General Assembly in our statutes and laws, have defined primary elections as an election held for a political party for the purpose of allowing members of that party to select a nominee to appear on the [general] election ballot. We have told the voters that they’re entitled to vote in our primary elections if they are affiliated with the political party in whose primary they seek to vote, or if they declare allegiance to the political party in whose primary they seek to vote, and state that they intend to affiliate with that party.”

Keisling then stated, “What we have failed to do though, is tell the various county election commissions how they are to recognize these members of a party. That’s what this legislation corrects.”

HB 1045 is a two-part bill. It allows election commissions to keep a record of a voter’s party affiliation on file for future elections and also allows political parties to decide if they will allow non affiliated voters to vote in their primaries. 

New residents moving into Tennessee who register to vote would be asked to list their affiliation when filling out their voter registration form. Anyone choosing not to affiliate with a political party would be recorded as unaffiliated. Voters wishing to change a recorded affiliation or status would have to do so twenty-nine days in advance of a primary election.

However, if the Republican and Democratic parties choose to allow non affiliated voters to vote in their primaries, the law will essentially remain as it is now.

The law, as it stands, makes it illegal to vote in a party’s primary when you are not a bona fide member of the party and do not intend to affiliate with them in the future. Subcommittee Chair Tim Rudd (R-Murfreesboro-District 34) had to remind two of the Tennesseans who testified before House members of this fact. In opposition to the bill, they said that closing the primaries would “disenfranchise thousands of voters” who are either Independents or who claim no affiliation with either of the two main parties. 

Rudd said, “If an Independent votes in the Republican primary, or a Democrat votes in the [Republican] primary, or a Republican votes in a Democrat primary, it’s illegal currently.” 

When put to a voice vote, the bill passed and will now go to the Local Government Committee on March 7th, 2023.

If you support this legislation, contact the members of the Committee before March 7th.

Rep. John Crawford (R) -Chair – rep.john.crawford@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-7623

Rep. Dave Wright (R) – Vice Chair – rep.dave.wright@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-6879

Rep. Rebecca K. Alexander (R) – rep.rebecca.alexander@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-2251

Rep. Jeff Burkhart (R) – rep.jeff.burkhart@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-6804

Rep. Dale Carr (R) – Chair – rep.dale.carr@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-5981

Rep. Clay Doggett (R) – rep.clay.doggett@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-7476

Rep. Michael Hale (R) – rep.michael.hale@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-2192

Rep. Esther Helton-Haynes (R) – rep.esther.helton@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-1934

Rep. John B. Holsclaw (R) – rep.john.holsclaw@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-7450

Rep. Harold Love, Jr. (D) – rep.harold.love@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-3831

Rep. Greg Martin (R) – rep.greg.martin@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-2548

Rep. Sam McKenzie (D) – rep.sam.mckenzie@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-0768

Rep. Larry Miller (D) – rep.larry.miller@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-4453

Rep. Jerome Moon (R) – rep.jerome.moon@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-5481

Rep. Kevin D. Raper (R) – rep.kevin.raper@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-1350

Rep. Jay D. Reedy (R) – rep.jay.reedy@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-7098

Rep. Tim Rudd (R) – rep.tim.rudd@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-2804

Rep. Johnny Shaw (D) – rep.johnny.shaw@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-4538

Rep. William Slater (R) – rep.william.slater@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-2534

Rep. Robert Stevens (R) – rep.robert.stevens@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-3830

Rep. Dwayne Thompson (D) – rep.dwayne.thompson@capitol.tn.gov – (615) 741-1920

About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at paula@tennesseeconservativenews.com.

4 thoughts on “Tennessee General Assembly Given Second Chance To Close Primaries

  • March 2, 2023 at 5:22 pm

    There is nothing that stands in the way of conservatives being successful in Republican primaries more than the ability of Democrats and left-leaning “independents” being allowed to vote in those primaries. Let us not forget the Open Primary Six who voted against closing the primaries as we await the 2024 primary so we can support whoever their opponent happens to be.
    John Crawford
    Esther Helton – Haynes
    William Slater
    Dale Carr
    Dave Wright
    John Holsclaw

  • March 2, 2023 at 5:33 pm

    In Williamson County the Dems encourage each other to vote in the Republican Primaries – it’s an unethical scam but they don’t care – I’ve never known conservatives to cross over like that. The County is 65% Repub so most Libs won’t run as a Dem because they would lose. Most run as Independents and claim they are non-partisan – that’s how they took over the School Board. Shockingly, the Williamson County GOP allowed one well-known Leftist (he always votes Lib – never conservative – CRT, DEI, porn books in schools, etc.) to run as a Republican because he paid his $35 and voted in the Repub Primaries. He was endorsed by the Williamson Dem Party, even though a Dem was running for the same seat!!! Ever heard of that? Every Dem and Lib endorsed him. And the Williamson Repub party endorsed him. Disgusting.

  • March 2, 2023 at 5:59 pm

    Unaffiliated voting in primaries changes the entire course of history. Leftists use it as a tool to choose our weakest candidates, and are organized to do so. I have seen it happen in Virginia, in every election. That state is blue in only a few areas, but red throughout the remainder of the counties. Good conservative, even Libertarian candidates could never succeed, and sitting legislators were removed by this tactic. Our voting systems are already challenged to the breaking point. I would urge our state to keep us together by eliminating what amounts to sheer fraud.
    “Disenfranchisement” actually occurs almost never in this country, but the word is a battering ram used by those who would rule the world instead of its rightful citizens.

  • March 3, 2023 at 1:33 am

    Emailed them!
    IMHO dimmercraps shouldn’t be allowed to vote on this.
    Any RINO who votes open SHOULD be prohibited from Republican party.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *