Election commissioner faces 3rd complaint in 2 years

Published 9:10 am Monday, November 3, 2014

Bud Whitehead

Bud Whitehead

For the second time in as many months, a complaint has been filed against one member of the Election Commission who has a history of complaints regarding his conduct during the performance of his duties.
Julia Adams, who serves as the Election Officer at the Tiger Valley precinct, filed a complaint on Oct. 20 regarding comments made by Election Commissioner Bud Whitehead while he was at the precinct on the day of the August 7 county general election.
The Elizabethton Star obtained a copy of Adams’ complaint from the Carter County Elections Office.
“Bud Whitehead, Carter Co. Election Commissioner, was visiting the voting place and made several inappropriate comments to voters in line,” Adams said in the complaint. “The content of the comments was related to the current president, Obama. He said ‘Now if we can just get rid of Obama.’ He made other unsuitable comments during the previous election also.”
After receiving the complaint, Administrator of Elections Tracy Harris said she forwarded it to Election Commission Chairman Doug Buckles, which she said is standard procedure when a complaint is filed.
Buckles said he had not discussed the complaint with Whitehead but the Election Commission would “look into” the matter. “We will deal with it at the next Commission meeting if there is anything to deal with,” he said. The Election Commission is scheduled to meet on Nov. 17 at 9 a.m. at the Carter County Courthouse.
When contacted by the Elizabethton Star, Whitehead said he was not aware a complaint had been filed against him.
“I don’t know what she’s talking about,” he said after being informed of the allegations in the complaint. “I have no knowledge about that.”
The complaint filed by Adams is not the first complaint received by the Commission regarding alleged conduct by Whitehead during the August election. During the Commission’s meeting in September, members discussed a complaint from a woman in the Central precinct who said Whitehead had skipped line at the precinct to vote on election day. The woman said she had been waiting in line for more than two hours when Whitehead entered the precinct and moved to the head of the line.
At the September meeting, Whitehead said he had waited at the precinct for approximately one hour. Because it was getting late in the evening, he said, he asked the precinct officer if he could move ahead of the line to vote because he had to return to the courthouse to help work the election.
“Maybe that was an oversight by me by not voting early,” Whitehead said at the September meeting. “We’ve never had lines like that before.”
“Sometimes you got to do what you got to do and I done it,” he added.
In 2012 Whitehead was the subject of a complaint sent to the state Election Commission by a woman alleging Whitehead accosted her when she went to vote on Oct. 25, 2012.
“When getting in line to vote, Bud Whitehead, Election Commissioner, started to berate me about a letter I had written to the Elizabethton Star,” Judy Garland said in the complaint. “He said he was embarrassed to even know me. I should be ashamed for defending those ‘queers.’”
“There were other people, but I’m not sure they heard him,” Garland added. “I felt intimidated and so nervous I had difficulty voting.”

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