County Commission to reconsider electronic voting system

Published 9:41 am Saturday, March 14, 2015

When the Carter County Commission meets Monday, it will consider a previously defeated proposal to buy an electronic voting system.

During the group’s February meeting, a recommendation from the budget committee was presented to allow transfer $20,000 from the mayor’s budget to the building and grounds budget to buy the electronic voting system. The proposal ultimately was voted down on a vote of 12 in favor and eight opposing. While 12 was a majority of the commissioners present, in order for a motion to pass, it must receive at least 13 votes — the majority of the number of total members.

Commissioners Nancy Brown, Ronnie Trivett, Charles Von Cannon, Ross Garland, Timothy Holdren, Randall Jenkins, John Lewis, Larry Miller, Ray Lyons, Robert Carroll, Robert Gobble and Cody McQueen voted in favor of the purchase. Commissioners Willie Campbell, Buford Peters, Mike Hill, Isaiah Grindstaff, L.C. Tester, Danny Ward, Bobbie Gouge-Dietz and Sonja Culler voted against the purchase. Commissioners Jerry Proffitt, Beth Depew, Al Meehan and Scott Simerly were absent from the meeting.

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Several commissioners spoke out against the purchase during the February meeting, calling it unnecessary spending of taxpayer money.

“I don’t understand why we would spend $20,000 of the taxpayers’ money on something we don’t need,” Tester said.

Despite failing during the February meeting, the wireless voting system is back on agenda for Monday’s meeting.

Included in the agenda packet for Monday’s meeting is a bid evaluation sheet showing bids from four different companies for the installation of an electronic voting system and a list of governing bodies in Tennessee currently using RollCall-Pro electronic voting systems.

The packet also contains a letter from Circuit Judge Thomas J. Seeley to the Administrative Office of the Courts for the Tennessee Supreme Court, dated March 2, which said the county is installing a wireless communication system along with computer, monitor and printer-copier in the courtroom. In the letter, Seeley said he and the other judges serving Carter County would like to see the courts “augment” the improvements by purchasing “hardware to enhance both acoustical and visual presentation” in the courtroom. The current courtroom has acoustic problems which make hearing difficult at times, Seeley said, and has no visual display equipment to allow attorneys to display photographs or other evidence.

In other business, the county will also consider a resolution to change the name of a state highway. Currently, Highway 91 in the Stoney Creek community is named the “Rondal Cole Memorial Highway.” The commission will consider a resolution to change the name to the “Ralph and Rondal Cole Memorial Highway.”

The name change was presented to the Highway Committee at the request of State Sen. Rusty Crowe, who sent a letter to County Mayor Leon Humphrey saying several residents had requested the change to honor both of the Cole brothers for their contributions to Carter County.