Ran in today's Tennessean:
I received by mail my Davidson County sample ballot, complete with odd black boxes beside the first name for all contested races.
In the state of Tennessee, the party that holds the majority in the legislature is, by law, listed first on the ballot. The explanation for the black boxes said that they were put there to tell the candidates apart. I do not know what language election official Joan Nixon speaks, but in most of them that I know, you can tell the difference between things by simply reading them in big bold letters, not by adding confusing symbols.
In a year when our state has increased barriers to vote for low-income households and senior citizens, it is simply outrageous for official voter information to be presented in such an amateurish way. Our free and transparent election process is threatened either by incompetence at best or malicious intent at worst.