African American Voters Turn Out For Nashville’s Judicial Elections

Campaign volunteers and candidates shout to a woman walking toward Bordeaux library. Anyone promoting a candidate had to stand 100 feet away from the library doors. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Campaign volunteers and candidates shout to a woman walking toward Bordeaux library. Anyone promoting a candidate had to stand 100 feet away from the library doors. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

The campaigners in front of Bordeaux Library on Thursday afternoon were vocal and animated, holding signs and shouting candidates’ names to voters walking toward the library. As of Thursday morning, more people had voted here this week than any other early voting location.

As early voting for the May election wraps up, only a small fraction of registered voters in Davidson County have cast a ballot for their judges, district attorney or county clerk — about 3 percent as of Thursday morning. But of that small percentage, there have been more black voters than white voters so far, according to one African American get-out-the-vote group.

Bordeaux Library is in a predominantly African American area of the city, and voter Robert Smith says that’s part of the reason why it’s so busy here, even during a low-profile judicial election.

“Those of us who remember the restrictions on voting that previously existed — by voting it’s validation that we take this right very seriously and we will continue to exercise it,” he says.

For Audra Cox, the reasons for voting in a judicial election are personal.

“I have a 14-year-old son,” she says. “His being an African-American male, I worry about the judicial system and who’s in charge. And even though he’s a good kid, I want someone who’s gonna have the voice of the people.”

Cox points to the campaigners across from the library doors yelling for various candidates. Whoever is elected, she says, she hopes they don’t forget about the community after election day.

Early voting ends Thursday night. Election day is Tuesday.

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