published Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Pikeville seats up for vote

All five seats on Pikeville, Tenn.'s Board of Mayor and Aldermen will be on the ballot when city voters head for the polls in December, election officials said.

The five long-timers on the city panel face no opposition early on, according to Administrator of Elections Lisa Wheeler.

"We've had two pick up [qualifying papers] now," Wheeler said on Tuesday. So far, incumbent Mayor Greg Johnson and local resident Randy Sharp have picked up qualifying petitions.

Johnson is seeking his third term as mayor.

The remaining seat holders are Aldermen Senia Anderson, Reed Sells, Bill Swearingen and Charles Young, records show. Potential candidates have until Sept. 15 to file petitions.

IMPORTANT DATES

  • First day to request absentee ballot: Sept. 5
  • Deadline to file petitions: Sept. 15, noon CDT (election office remains open all day)
  • Last day to register to vote: Nov. 3
  • Early voting begins: Nov. 14
  • Early voting ends: Nov. 28
  • Election day: Dec. 3; poll hours will be announced

Source: Bledsoe County Election Commission

There has been little talk about city elections this far out from election day, Wheeler said.

"You know, you usually hear rumors but I've not heard anything," she said.

This will be the last Bledsoe County election in which voters will not be required to show photo identification when they cast their ballots, Wheeler said.

"The next election is March 6 [2012]; that's the presidential preference primary. They will be required to have photo identification for that one," she said.

Voters also should know that early voting hours have changed this year to answer some past complaints, Election Commissioner Ed Boring said.

"What we basically set it up to do is to give everybody a chance -- whether they're working a second or third shift -- to come in and vote [early]," Boring said. "People said they couldn't get to the office in time because we always had it in the mornings."

Now the hours are broken up throughout the early voting period to give everyone a chance to get to the election office at the Bledsoe County Courthouse, he said.

Voters can cast early ballots from 9 a.m. to noon CDT from Nov. 14-17 and Nov. 26; from 1-4 p.m. CDT on Nov. 18-19 and Nov. 21-22; and from 4-7 p.m. CDT on Nov. 23, 25 and 28.

Wheeler also noted that, in the event that none of the city seats are contested, officials could decide not to hold early voting. If that happens, all ballots would be cast as usual on election day.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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