(WMC) - It is election day! Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday across the Mid-South for the State and Federal Republican and Democratic Primary and Shelby County General Election. The easiest way to find where to vote is by plugging in your address at shelbyvote.com.
Here are five things to help you navigate the voting process:
1. You can vote both Republican and Democrat in the general election
In the county general election, people may switch back and forth between voting for Republican and Democrat candidates. Some voters ask about declaring a party because that is the case with voting in a primary election.
According to Shelby County Election Commission, in a primary election, each party is choosing the candidate that will represent it in the November election, which is why voters must make a party declaration to participate in the primary. This leads to ...
2. You don't have to vote in the primary election
The ballot on Thursday will include the Republican and Democratic Primary and Shelby County General Election. If you only want to vote in the general election, then you don't have to declare your party.
If you do vote in the primary, then you are required to declare a party. It is not possible for one person to vote in the primaries of both parties. The voter access card will not allow it.
3. Voters are required to show photo identification
In Shelby County, voters are required to show photo identification when they arrive at the polls. Accepted forms of identification include any photo ID issued by the State of Tennessee— including drivers' licenses—and photo IDs issued by the federal government. This includes U.S. passports, government employee identification cards, and military ID cards. Find out if you're registered to vote on shelbyvote.com.
4. The general election part of the ballot will be topped by the Shelby County District Attorney and County Mayor races
One of the most talked about races will also be one of the first races on the ballot: Democratic challenger and former TV judge Joe Brown facing incumbent DA Amy Weirich. Brown has been arrested for contempt of court and made controversial comments since his campaign. He continues to tie her to the untested rape kit backlog. Weirich has said, "I think my record does speak for itself ... The fact that I've been a career prosecutor in the office for 23 years."
Additionally, Democratic candidate Deidre Malone, who says she stands for creating jobs and a better economy in Shelby County, will face incumbent Mark Luttrell (R). He is campaigning by sharing the progress the county has made with job growth and fighting blight. Independent candidates Leo Awgowhat and Charles Nelson are also running. To see the full sample ballot go to shelbyvote.com.
5. U.S. Department of Justice is sending representatives to watch over the election
Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Robert Meyers requested federal monitors during a phone call at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Later during a conference call with Meyers and Administrator of Elections Richard Holden, representatives from the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division confirmed that they would monitor.
A Memphis City Council committee passed a "no confidence" vote against Holden in January; a couple of weeks after that, the FBI launched an investigation into Holden and six other election workers.
If you feel under-informed about the ballot, then use our simple election guide, which breaks down the Shelby County General Election in under 5 minutes: http://www.wmcactionnews5.com/category/285748/election-guide-get-informed-in-under-5-minutes?clienttype=generic&mobilecgbypass.
On Thursday night join us for our Decision 2014 live stream, where reporters will be checking in from the field and Anna Marie Hartman along with Joe Birch talk to panelists as results feed into WMCActionNews5.com.