Every election year, The Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT) provides citizens of Tennessee with Voter Guides that clearly show where candidates running for Tennessee House and Tennessee Senate stand on important issues related to life, family, marriage, education, and religious liberty.
Typically, we provide these guides about a month before both the August State Primary Election and the November General Election (November 8) to help you make an informed vote.
This year was the first year that we surveyed Tennessee’s legislative candidates using a totally online form, which saved candidates time and us a few headaches in inputting data correctly.
The current Voter Guide covers both contested and uncontested (no opponent) state legislative candidates running in the General Election. The General Election is on November 8, and early voting is from October 19 – November 3.
Why the Switch to Covering Uncontested Races, Too?
After important feedback during the 2016 Primaries, we learned that it could be a frustrating process for some Tennessee voters who, after taking the time to look up their voting information, discovered that their candidate did not have a candidate page or a corresponding district comparison page because their candidate was running in an uncontested race.
Now, for the General Election, we are remedying this by representing every candidate who is running for a legislative seat in the Tennessee House or Senate as best we can, regardless of whether that candidate is running in a contested or uncontested race. And we will continue to improve the process moving forward.
What You Will See for Contested Races
All those running in contested General Elections were emailed or mailed the link to our electronic survey to fill out. You can read more about the process we went through for contested candidates in “The Surveying Process for Contested Races” section below.
You will see listed “Candidate is running in a contested General Election,” as well as any survey answers and/or essay answers on their individual candidate pages.
For those candidates who filled out the survey questions, the response choices were either “support,” “oppose,” or “undecided” for each of the 14 questions. For those who did not fill out the survey or any portion of the survey, responses were marked “failed to answer.”
Candidates had the choice of whether they wanted to answer the essay questions or not. If a candidate did answer the survey portion, essay answers appear exactly as the candidate entered it; no edits were made. For those who did not answer the essay portion or any particular essay question, the answer was marked “chose not to answer” for each question.
Candidate Comparison District Pages
Candidate comparison district pages will show the voter guide responses in side-by-side chart form, with all candidates running for that district clearly represented with a link back to their individual candidate pages.
What You Will See for Uncontested Races
For those candidates running in uncontested races, you will see one of two options listed, either “Candidate is running unopposed in the General Election” with survey and/or essay questions answered or “Candidate is running unopposed in the General Election and therefore was not surveyed” without any survey questions or essay questions answered.
Why this distinction?
Some candidates who are running unopposed in the General Election filled out surveys before their contested Primary race and won their contested Primary. Since we already had their answers, we decided to keep that information up. We figured you would still want to know what your candidate stands for even if the candidate is running in an uncontested General race.
Many of those running in uncontested General races did not run in any contested races this election season, so we didn’t send them a voter guide survey. In order to be fair to those candidates, we did not want to fail them for not answering a survey they never received. Instead, we chose to leave their survey section and essay section blank. However, we did still want to represent them on our Voter Guide so that you would know who your candidate is.
Candidate Comparison District Pages
For candidates running in uncontested races, the candidate comparison district page will note “There is no candidate comparison for this district because candidate is running unopposed in the General Election,” and a link is provided back to the individual candidate page.
How Will Winners in the General Election Be Noted?
Once we have the initial results of the General Election, we will display the winners on an election results page. Then we will update the Find a Candidate alphabetical listing by noting “winner” next to candidates who won and notate winners on individual candidate pages. We will also notate winners on the candidate comparison district pages in green.
The Surveying Process for Contested Races
All state House and state Senate candidates running in contested races were emailed or mailed a link to our first-ever online candidate voter guide form.
The candidate voter guide form contained 14 survey questions and an additional (optional) 5 in-depth essay questions about issues like abortion, sexual orientation/gender identity, same-sex marriage, minimum wage, Title IX, marijuana, and more.
Candidates running in contested races provided their answers online and their answers populated the candidate webpage form without risk of us rekeying answers from paper survey answers erroneously.
Were All Candidates in Contested Races Given the Chance to Answer the Voter Guide Survey?
Some candidates running in contested races did not answer the survey. In case you erroneously hear from a candidate that we did not send them a survey, here is how our surveys were handled:
Every candidate running in a contested race on the TNVoterGuide.org website got either multiple emails or multiple pieces of written correspondence asking them to complete the survey and providing them the deadline.
Candidates Running in Contested Races Who Had Email Addresses
A search was made of all contested candidate’s public information for an email address. In those instances in which no public email was found on their website or Facebook page, the candidate’s office was contacted and an email address requested.
Each candidate was sent several emails making clear the deadline. None of the emails to the candidates we emailed bounced back, meaning that the emails did reach the candidate or the candidate’s office.
Candidates Running in Contested Races Who Did Not Have Email Addresses
If we were unable to contact the contested candidate’s office for an email address or there was no email address, we mailed the candidate a survey based on the address provided in the petition they filed with the Secretary of State. We mailed them twice and have delivery receipts for the mailing.
Need More Information About U.S. Candidates?
If you are looking for information about candidates representing Tennessee who are running for U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives, check out FRC Action’s Congressional Scorecard, or if you want information about candidates representing Tennessee who are running for U.S. House or information about the candidates running for U.S. President, please visit ivoterguide.com.
Does TNVoterGuide.org Cover Other Races?
We do not currently cover local races for judges, County Commissioner, Mayor, Alderman, school board, etc.
If you have any further questions about our Voter Guides, please visit the Get Help section.