After months of campaigning, polls, TV commercials, debates, interviews, predictions and even sketch comedy appearances, the 2008 presidential election is finally here.
Polls will be open locally from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday at precinct locations throughout the county. The local start time of 9 a.m. differs from the start time in Nashville and its surrounding counties, which is sometimes announced by Nashville media as if it were a universal standard.
The Times-Gazette will post complete precinct-by-precinct local results to its web site, t-g.com, as soon as possible Tuesday evening.
Based upon the county's record early voting turnout, local election officials are expecting a strong turnout on Tuesday, and have increased staffing at some precincts.
At the top of the ticket is the presidential race: Democrat Sen. Barack Obama, Republican Sen. John McCain, and six lesser-known candidates who are listed on the Tennessee ballot as independents.
Neither of the major party candidates was Bedford County's (or Tennessee's) choice during the party primary held in Tennessee in February. Local voters in the Democratic primary favored Sen. Hillary Clinton over Obama by a more than three-to-one margin, while GOP voters supported former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, with McCain a distant second. Clinton and Huckabee were the statewide winners as well.
In the 16th District State Senate race, incumbent Republican Jim Tracy of Shelbyville faces Democrat Jean Anne Rogers of Murfreesboro. The 62nd District State House race pits incumbent Democrat Curt Cobb against Republican challenger Barbara Blanton.
Pundits and pollsters have declared Tennessee a "red state," likely to vote Republican in the presidential race, and -- except for a scheduled McCain appearance today in the Tri-Cities -- neither of the party nominees or their running mates has campaigned here since the party convention. Both candidates were in Nashville for the presidential debate at Belmont University last month, and former vice president Al Gore held a fundraiser for Obama following that event.
In addition to the presidential election, the ballot includes U.S. Senate, U.S. House, State Senate and State House races, as well as a Third District county commission seat and city elections in Shelbyville, Wartrace and Normandy.
This is the first year in which Shelbyville voters have voted only for the city council race for their individual ward. In the past, such races were voted on citywide, even though a candidate had to live in the particular ward he sought to represent.
Here is a list of the candidates on Tuesday's ballot:
D - Barack Obama (Joe Biden)
R - John McCain (Sarah Palin)
I - Chuck Baldwin (Darrell Castle)
I - Bob Barr (Wayne Root)
I - Charles Jay (Thomas L. Knapp)
I - Cynthia McKinney (Rosa Clemente)
I - Brian Moore (Stewart Alexander)
I - Ralph Nader (Matt Gonzalez)
D - Bob Tuke
R - Lamar Alexander (incumbent)
I - Edward L. Buck
I - Christopher G. Fenner
I - David Gatchell
I - Ed Lawhorn
I - Daniel Towers Lewis
I - Chris Lugo
U.S. House, 4th District
D - Bart Gordon (incumbent)
I - Chris Baker
Tenn. Senate, 16th
D - Jean Anne Rogers
R - Jim Tracy (incumbent)
Tenn. House, 62nd
D - Curt Cobb (incumbent)
R - Barbara Blanton
Bedford County Commission, 3rd
Janice Brothers (appointed incumbent)
Bedford County Road Board, 7th
No ballot candidates
Bedford County Road Board, 8th
No ballot candidates
Shelbyville City Council, 1st
Jo Ann Holland (incumbent)
Bobby Lee Parker Sr.
Shelbyville City Council, 3rd
Kay Rose (appointed incumbent)
Shelbyville City Council, 5th
Randy Vernon (incumbent)
Normandy Aldermen (two seats)
Susan Sharrock Quick
Wartrace Aldermen (three seats)
Roston Floyd (incumbent)
Jean Gallagher (incumbent)
Thomas E. Hurt (incumbent)
Phillip Jackson Smith