On Wednesday, the Tennessee Republican Party called on the State Primary Board for the Democratic Party “to invalidate the nomination of Anne McGraw for Williamson County Commission.”
“During early voting, Anne McGraw, a Democratic candidate herself on the May 1 primary ballot, opted to vote in the Republican primary. This decision demonstrates a malicious intent to tamper with the democratic process,” the Tennessee Republican Party said in a statement, adding:
According to TCA 2-7-115:
(b) A registered voter is entitled to vote in a primary election for offices for which the voter is qualified to vote at the polling place where the voter is registered if:
(1) The voter is a bona fide member of and affiliated with the political party in whose primary the voter seeks to vote
(2) At the time the voter seeks to vote, the voter declares allegiance to the political party in whose primary the voter seeks to vote and states that the voter intends to affiliate with that party.
Being herself a candidate and therefore bona fide member of the Tennessee Democratic Party who is running for their nomination, Anne McGraw knowingly violated the spirit of Tennessee election law.
“The sanctity of our elections and democratic process is a large part of what what makes this nation great,” Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden (pictured on the left in the headline image) said in the statement.
“The actions of Anne McGraw and the inaction of the Tennessee Democratic Party are despicable and only work to dismantle that sanctity. That is why I am calling on Tennessee Democratic Primary Board to invalidate Anne McGraw’s nomination,” Golden added.
The Tennessee Star first reported on the alleged actions of McGraw and fellow Democrat Bill Peach on April 17:
Early voting is underway in local elections across the state and runs through April 26, with the Election Day itself occurring May 1. In deep red Republican Williamson County there has been some concern among conservative Republican leaders that local Democrats may cross over to vote in the Republican Primary. Because Tennessee does not have party registration, voters can pick which primary in which they choose to vote each election, although Tennessee state law does require that the “choice” is a legitimate expression of party allegiance.
Those concerns have been confirmed as at least two high profile Democrats have already voted “as Republicans” in the Republican Primary during early voting. One of the two has qualified as a candidate for the State House as a Democrat in the Democratic Party primary slated for August 2; the other is currently running as a Democrat for a county office in the May 1 primary and therefore did not vote for herself in the Democratic Party primary in which she is a candidate.
Bill Peach has run previously for the State House as a Democrat against Jeremy Durham and failed to get 30% of the vote in 2014. He is a candidate again, running for the Democratic Party nomination to oppose Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) in the 61st House District in November. Last week he voted in the Republican Primary for the May 1 county elections.
Anne McGraw is also a Democratic Party candidate and is on the ballot for the May 1 primary election for the office of County Commission. However, like Peach, she voted in the Republican primary last week – choosing to not even vote in the Democratic Primary for herself.
Subsequently, The Star reported on April 26 that “The Williamson County Election Commission has referred materials related to an investigation into a report that seemed to show at least two Democrats – both of whom are currently running for elected office – voted in the Republican primary to the District Attorney for further investigation and possible prosecution.”