On August 3, 2023, Nashville voters will have the chance to elect members of their local government in the Metropolitan General Election. This voter guide will cover which offices are being elected, how to get ready to vote, and why voting in the August 3 election is so important.
Whether you’ve voted dozens of times or this is your first time voting, it’s important to go into an election feeling fully informed. Here are answers to top questions about the Nashville Metropolitan General Election:
The Nashville Metropolitan General Election is on August 3, 2023. All voting locations will be open on August 3 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
If necessary, a run-off election will take place on September 14.
Four offices are being elected in the Nashville Metropolitan General Election: mayor, vice mayor, Metropolitan Council members at large, and Metropolitan Council members representing specific districts.
A special primary election for Tennessee House District 51 and a special general election for Tennessee House District 52 are also taking place on August 3. Voters in these districts can vote for their Tennessee House representatives at the same time as they vote in the Metropolitan General Election.
There are 12 candidates on the ballot for Nashville mayor. They are:
Sharon W. Hurt
Matthew A. Wiltshire
While the race for mayor and Metro Council is non-partisan, this ballot includes Republicans, Democrats, and independent candidates. John Cooper, the current mayor of Nashville, is not running for reelection. This opening leaves the door open for a new face to lead Music City toward a bright future.
Nashville mayors serve four-year terms and can serve a maximum of two terms in office. The chosen mayor will play a crucial role in setting the agenda for Nashville’s future.
Independent candidate Freddie O’Connell led a June poll conducted by NAIOP Nashville, The Commercial Real Estate Development Association. The majority of voters surveyed said they were still unsure who they would vote for for mayor.
There are two candidates running for vice mayor:
Angie E. Henderson
Jim Shulman is Nashville’s current vice mayor and is running for reelection. The vice mayor serves as the president of the Metropolitan Council.
There are 21 candidates on the ballot for council at large. Voters can select five candidates out of these options. To see the full list of candidates, view a sample ballot here.
There are 40 seats in the Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County. Of those 40 seats, five are at-large seats and 35 are district seats. Numerous committees are at work within the council. Council members serve four-year terms.
All 35 districts are electing council members to represent their residents. In some districts, there is only one candidate running uncontested. In other districts, two, three, four, or even five candidates are running for election.
You can find out your district by searching by address here. Or take a look at this map of Nashville’s 35 districts.
You can download the GoVoteTN app or visit the GoVoteTN website here to create a sample ballot for your specific district.
Of the many candidates running, Good Party is proud to support three Good Party Certified independent candidates. To be Good Party Certified, candidates agree to run non-partisan, civil, grassroots campaigns that are funded by real people, not corporations, unions, or special interests. Here are Nashville’s Good Party Certified candidates:
Enter your address here to find your polling place. You can also locate your polling place on the GoVoteTN app.
Here are four easy steps you can take to be ready for election day:
Make sure you’re registered to vote.
The deadline to register to vote is July 5. If you’re unsure whether you’re registered, you can check your voter registration status here.
Make a plan for election day.
The polls will be open on August 3 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. You can also participate in early voting from July 14-29 or request an absentee ballot.
You can request an absentee ballot here. Absentee ballots must be requested by July 27. If you are a military or overseas voter, find out how to request your absentee ballot here.
Bring the correct form of ID with you to your polling place.
To reduce the risk of voter fraud, all voters must bring the correct form of identification with them to vote. Make sure you have one of these forms of ID:
Tennessee driver’s license with your photo
United States passport
A photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
A photo ID issued by the federal or Tennessee state government
United States military photo ID
Tennessee handgun carry permit with your photo
College or university student ID cards are not acceptable forms of identification.
If you do not have any of the above forms of identification, you can get ready for election day by visiting a driver service center and requesting a free photo ID from the Department of Safety and Homeland Security. When you go to the driver service center, you will need to bring with you one proof of citizenship and two proofs of Tennessee residency.
Decide who to vote for!
Probably the most exciting part of preparing for an election is deciding who to vote for. Make sure to research candidates ahead of time so you can make an informed choice at the polls — and make sure to look beyond mere party affiliation as you research. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you consider different candidates:
What are the candidate’s main policy positions? Do those positions resonate with your values?
What do you hope the future of Nashville will look like? Do this candidate’s priorities align with your vision?
How well have the candidate’s background and prior experience prepared them for office?
Do you consider the candidate trustworthy?
Whoever you choose to vote for, your opinion matters! Finding candidates whose values and priorities align with yours is crucial for a well-functioning democracy.
Who represents you in local government matters. The next mayor, vice mayor, and Metropolitan Council members will shape the trajectory of Nashville’s next four years.
Here are some of the top issues currently facing Nashville:
Affordable Housing: Increasing housing prices and limited availability have combined to create a significant problem for low-income residents. Read the mayoral candidates’ answers to questions on affordable housing here.
Transportation and Infrastructure: As the city grows, so should its network of transportation and infrastructure. Read the mayoral candidates’ answers to questions on mass transit here.
Education and School Funding: How can the city of Nashville best serve its students and teachers? Questions remain over school funding, resource allocation, and how to overcome disparate educational outcomes among marginalized communities.
Economic Development and Job Growth: How should Nashville support entrepreneurship and encourage business development? Different candidates have different solutions to addressing income inequality and cultivating opportunities for career advancement.
Social Issues and Inclusion: Like many other cities, Nashville has important questions to answer about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Some candidates prioritize supporting LGBTQ+ rights, minority-owned businesses, and programs that address systemic racism more than others.
Governance and Accountability: Transparency and accountability are crucial to a well-functioning local government. It’s important to assess how each candidate would increase and protect government accountability.
Homelessness Crisis: Related to the question of affordable housing is the issue of homelessness in Nashville. Read the mayoral candidates’ answers to questions on homelessness here.
Crime: As with many cities, crime rates are a concern in Nashville. There have especially been concerns about crime in West Nashville. Read the mayoral candidates’ answers to questions on crime here.
For a more complete look into the issues currently facing Nashville, read our blog here.
Voting on August 3 is essential to having your voice represented in all of these issues. To learn more about why voter turnout and civic engagement are so important, read our blog on active citizenship here.
Here are three additional resources to help you prepare for the August 3 election:
Voter Fraud Hotline: If you have concerns to report concerning voter fraud, call 877-850-4959.
Apply to Be a Poll Official: If you would like to work as a poll official, fill out this interest form.
Volunteer with Good Party: If you are interested in volunteering with Good Party and supporting independent candidates and voters in Nashville, sign up for an info session here.
Finally, we want to provide you with a list of relevant election terms, so you can feel even more prepared and confident in your knowledge going into the election.
Election terms can be confusing. These definitions can bring some clarity:
Your vote has a real impact on who gets elected to represent Nashville. From mayor to council members, the people elected on August 3 will make choices that impact the wellbeing of your community. Your voice matters, so make sure your voice gets heard!