Early voting underway for Shelby County District 86 special election

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 6:06 PM CDT|Updated: May. 26, 2023 at 7:03 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Early voting for the Tennessee House of Representative District 86 seat is now underway.

Voters in that district will elect a permanent representative for this district, until the next term, following the expulsion and reappointment of Interim Representative Justin J. Pearson.

“If you don’t vote in this election, you’re essentially allowing other people to make your choice of who your representative is,” explained Linda Phillips of the Shelby County Election Commission.

Three candidates make up the ballot:

  • David Page (D)
  • Justin J. Pearson (D)
  • Jeff Johnston (I)

There are no Republican candidates for this seat.

“It’s really important that people come out and make their selection if they are a Democrat,” Phillips explained. “Whoever wins the Democratic primary will face opposition in August.”

The special election comes about five months after a different special election for this same seat. Pearson won that race back in January, following the death of Representative Barbara Cooper who represented this district for 26 years.

Pearson and Interim Representative Justin Jones of Nashville were expelled from the state house for protesting the state’s gun laws. Representative Gloria Johnson of Knoxville also faced expulsion but survived the vote. The ‘Tennessee 3,′ as people refer to them, made history. Shelby County voter advocates believe this special election will be just as historic.

“Because we see what happened with this seat in the state legislature, so in my mind, that stresses the importance of showing up at the ballot box to make your voice heard,” explained Ian Randolph with the Shelby County Voter Alliance.

Early voting ends June 10. The Special Primary Election will take place on June 15. One of the two Democratic candidates will then advance to the General Election on August 3.

Voters can vote early at three locations:

  • Baker Community Center 7942 Church Road, Millington
  • Riverside Missionary Baptist Church 3560 S. Third St., Memphis
  • Shelby County Election Commission 157 Poplar, Memphis

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