Overheard in Murfreesboro: Voting

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Primary Season: Congressional races get all the ink, but thousands of people will vote for people like Pam Hurst in the Tennessee primary. Will they find out who she is first? (Photo: Tim Murphy)Primary Season: Congressional races get all the ink, but thousands of people will vote for people like Pam Hurst in the Tennessee primary—whether or not they know who she is (Photo: Tim Murphy).We left Murfreesboro, Tennessee a few days ago, but since it’s stuck with me, and since I’ve had some down time for the first time this trip, I thought I’d put up this stray bit of overheard wisdom. To set the scene: Murfreesboro is a small-sized city with an old-fashioned downtown square centered around the county courthouse. With the retirement of long-time congressman Bart Gordon, a Democrat, the upcoming Republican primary has taken on an added significance this year; the inside of the City Cafe is cluttered with literature for the various candidates lining up to replace him. In the corner by the window, five elderly women are studying up on the races not just for Congress, but down-ballot positions as well.

“Oh, he’s very niiiice,” says woman #1. Then she drops her voice: “He talked for quite a while.” They talk it over and agree not to let the latter become the enemy of the former. Moving on, now: “This here means they’re independent,” says friend #2. She’s referring to, I think, the box that says “independent.” “They don’t go either way, really,” explains woman #3.

And now they plunge into the unexplored places: county clerk, register of deeds, jailer. “I don’t even know who this is,” says woman #3, perplexed.

“Oh, that doesn’t matter,” says friend #2. “You just check one and keep on going.”

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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