No changes made to county Election Commission

Published 12:07 am Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Carter County Election Commission made no changes during a reorganization meeting on Monday morning, but members did receive an update on progress being made to the office space they soon will call home.

All five of the commission’s members — Doug Buckles, Millard Garland, Wayne Smith, Paul Souder and Bud Whitehead — were reappointed to the commission to serve another term. Members of the election commission are appointed by the state through a process involving the state legislature and the local political parties.

Before the meeting was called to order, all five members signed their official appointment papers to be turned in to the state election commission.

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Buckles was re-elected to serve as chairman of the commission, and members selected Garland to serve as secretary.

The commission also voted unanimously to retain current Administrator of Elections Tracy Harris for another term in her post. While many of the county department heads are elected by the citizens, the position of administrator of elections is appointed by the election commission.

The group heard from Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey about the progress of renovations at the old 911 center located at the corner of East G Street and Holston Avenue, as it is prepared to be the new office space for the election commission.

“Quite a bit of demolition has been done to date,” Humphrey said. “We’ve had quite a bit of electrical work done. The electrician called on Friday and said he was nearly done.”

Humphrey said the electrician did find an issue with the generator at the building, adding he would be working with the electrician on the matter.

“We will be replacing some of the ceiling in there and doing some work on the walls to get them ready for painting,” Humphrey said. “Then we will move on to the floors. There are two areas of flooring that we will be replacing.”

Inmate work crews from the Carter County Detention Center have provided a lot of the labor for cleaning and demolition work, Humphrey said.

The renovations are progressing well and Humphrey said the bulk of the work should be completed by June 30, which is the end of the fiscal year.

“The only delay at this time is there is not enough funds to do the work immediately,” Humphrey said. “We are waiting for the budget committee to meet and approve some fund transfers.”

Once the renovations are completed, the election office will move to the new location.

With the move to the new location, some things will change and some things will remain the same, Harris said. For example, early voting will be held at the election commission office instead of at the courthouse as it has been in years past. However, the voters who are in the courthouse precinct will still vote at the courthouse on election day, Harris said.