Grundy County Herald

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Election Office News

Posted on Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 9:00 am


donna basham

September is National Voter Registration month and if you are not registered to vote, October 6 is the deadline to do so in order to vote in the November 4 election. The November election will have candidates for Governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, State House Member, and four constitutional amendments.

Altamont, Beersheba Springs, Coalmont, Palmer, Monteagle, and Tracy City will have city council seats on the ballot. In addition to council members, Monteagle city voters will vote on whether to sell wine in grocery stores and Tracy City Voters will have a “Liquor by the Drink” referendum.

The recent August 7 Election had about a 49 percent turnout of voters. The judicial retention questions caused the ballot to be extremely long but even with the length of the ballot, everything went very smoothly with the voting equipment and the voter flow at the precincts on Election Day and during early voting. The election commission expected a slight delay election night in getting vote results of two countywide, write-in races because write-in votes must be counted manually. The voting machines record the name as written but the machines do not have the capability of counting write-ins.

Confusion was cast the morning following the election when inaccurate vote results were give on a local cable TV station. This information did not come from the election commission, however, after hearing about the inaccurate results, the election commission passed along the correct totals to the station and soon rumors were rampant.

All candidates are treated with the utmost respect from the election commission and the office staff before, during and after elections. All election material and supplies were in the possession of the election commission at all times. All voting locations closed promptly at 7:00 p.m., though one location had 20 people in line at that time and state law allows a person to vote as long as they are in line at closing time.

Election night the crowded courtroom, full of candidates and supporters, heard election commission chairman Garry Miller announce that there was a total of 1,755 write-in votes in the road superintendent’s race and a counting board was in the process of counting those that were written for the certified candidate. A number of county residents received votes as did Clint Eastwood, Elvis, and a few cartoon characters, but the board counted only those for the certified candidate. The counting board was finished by 11:45 p.m. election night. The certified write-in candidate had a total of 1,660 and the candidate on the ballot had 1,690.

State law requires write-in candidates to educate their supporters (voters) on how the write-in process works; the Election Commission cannot and polling officials cannot do this. Write-In candidates were given this information prior to the election and both did a great job explaining the process during their campaign.

The election commission received concerns about whether a candidate was qualified to appear on the August ballot as an independent candidate. Everyone that was on the ballot qualified through state law and unless otherwise instructed, the election commission had to place them on the ballot. Because this particular situation was unique, the election commission members requested an opinion from the county attorney and followed guidance from the state election office through the process. The staff at the state election office provided detailed explanations to concerned citizens that called relating to the matter.