State rules names must remain on ballot

The state coordinator of elections ruled earlier this afternoon, the names of two Shelby County Commissioners must remain on the primary ballot.

Earlier this week, the state supreme court ruled that commissioners Walter Bailey and Cleo Kirk weren't eligible to run in the election because of term limits.

However, State Coordinator of elections Brooke Thompson ruled today the ballot cannot be changed within 40 days of the election.

Sidney Chism is running against Kirk. He tell Action News 5 today's ruling means he'll have to work harder.

If either Bailey or Kirk wins the primary they wouldn't be eligible for the general election. That means the Shelby County Democratic party would have to appoint a candidate for that election.

With all the confusion over term limits, voter education groups have a big job on their hands.

Shelby County Election Commissioner O.C. Pleasant is on the NAACP Voter Empowerment board. He says there are dynamics at play that call for better voter education this time around.

"I just think Shelby of County is at a point where it's probably a change in power," he said.

Dee Nollner heads the Shelby County League of Women Voters. While her group is lining up voter education programs, it's still up to you.

"There will be a lot of candidate forums, we will be having some. Look at the candidates literature, watch the ads on television," she said.

The League has also compiled voter information guides.

"Those things are listed in here. Plus, there are phone numbers. People need to go and vote early and if they have any questions ask the poll workers there," Nollner said.

The NAACP is planning a voter empowerment weekend with voter and candidate education forums. Their campaign is based on how many times the polls are open this year.

"You must make three trips to the polls. So the magic number is three," he said. He also says voter education groups won't be able to clear up the term limit confusion until the election commission gets more specific guidance.