County committee elects to eliminate some records

Published 9:23 am Thursday, April 10, 2014

Photo by Brandon Hicks

Tracy Harris, election commissioner, discusses some of the records that can now be disposed of.

Paper records can stack up. Literally.
And that means, eventually, something has to go.
The Carter County Records Committee approved the destruction of several election office records that were no longer required to be kept.
The committee unanimously approved disposing of absentee ballots and application ballots from 2010, audit of election results from 2008 and a duplicate set of poll books from 2006.
Committee chairman Scott Bowers said the move was standard practice for any business or government agency that had to manage files while faced with storage limitations.
“Paperwork backs up,” Bowers said. “This keeps it from accumulating and getting out of hand when space is at a premium.”
All of the records were kept almost two years past the minimum amount of time required for storage. The records approved for disposal were cleared to be removed in 2012.
Register of Deeds Jodie Bristol questioned disposing of the duplicate set of poll books. She asked if there would be any copies of those records in the courthouse for people who may come to ask for them.
“I just want to be clear we aren’t destroying something that someone wants later on,” Bristol said.
Election Commissioner Tracy Harris said an electronic copy of the scanned poll books that was stored on a CD was kept in the county clerk’s office. The state also had a copy of the same digital records on CD that are kept for nine years longer than the county records.
Harris said keeping a hard copy of the poll books required a large amount of storage space. There were two or three poll books for each of the 22 voting precincts in Carter County.
The committee also discussed some records that were damaged in a leak at the Carter County 911 building. Harris said water came in under some flashing on the roof, traveled down between the walls and spread out on the floor, which was soaked up by some of the records.
She said some minor paperwork from the election commission and some cover pages on reports for the county’s trustee office were affected. She said the damage to the records was minor.

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