BY MIKE WEST
Republican Party Chairman Jim Gibbs issued a news release Thursday (April 2) to clarify changes being considered by the Cannon County Election Commission.
"Recently talk has been going around Cannon County regarding a change in administration at the Cannon County Election Commission," Gibbs said. "On March 31st, an article was posted on a local online news source stating that nominations for the position of Cannon County Administrator of Elections for the years 2015-2017 will be accepted from the floor at the Monday, April 13th meeting of the Election Commission."
The Cannon Election Commission is scheduled to meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 13 in the courtroom of the Courthouse.
The source of the article which appears written as an agenda is not identified, Gibbs said. Currently, Dorinda Mankin is the Administrator of Elections.
"Based upon the number of phone calls to the Republican Party, many people believe that the change in administration is the responsibility of the Cannon County Republican Party. That is simply not the case," Gibbs said.
Some of the confusion may come from the fact Corey Davenport was the former chairman of the Cannon County Republican Party and was serving as chairman of the Election Commission as well, he said. Other members of the five-person board are: Sue Patrick who serves as secretary, Jackie Gannon, both representing the Democrat Party, and Matt Studd and Mike Grosch who along with Davenport represents the Republican Party.
Gibbs was elected to replace Davenport as chairman of the county Republican Party and the term of each Cannon County Election Commissioner expires this year. Some members could be reappointed.
The Cannon County Election Commissioners hold office for two years. As mentioned, the current terms of all members end this year and all can be replaced.
The State Election Commission is responsible for appointing five county election commissioners for every county in the state and monitoring the activities and performance of the county election commissions. The Cannon County Republican delegation in the Tennessee General Assembly will recommend three of the applicants to serve on the Election Commission and the local Democrat Party will recommend two. Usually, the Tennessee Election Commission follows the recommendation of the minority party chairperson and that of the majority party General Assembly members, Gibbs said.
The State Election Commission is composed of seven members, four from the political party holding a majority of seats in the General Assembly and three from the minority party. These individuals are elected for a term of four years. This is the only commission in Tennessee state government which is elected wholly by the General Assembly.
The Tennessee Election Commission is part of the state's Division of Elections, which, in turn, is part of the Department of State. The commission is responsible for appointing local election commissioners in all of Tennessee's 95 counties, then monitoring the activities and performance of those individual county election commissions. Members of the Tennessee Election Commission are appointed by Secretary of State Tre Hargett. The state election commissioners are:
Donna Barrett of Murfreesboro, a member since March 2014
Kent D. Younce of Lafollette, a member since June 2009
Judy Blackburn of Morristown, a member since June 2009
Greg Duckett of Memphis, a member since May 2007
Tommy Head of Clarksville, a member since May 2007
James H. Wallace, Jr. of Jackson, a member since May 1995
Tom Wheeler of Clinton, a member since February 1992
The current commissioners will serve until May 2015.
"The Cannon County Republican Party will monitor the activities of the Cannon County Election Commission and will strive to insure that fair elections are conducted and as many polling places as possible remain open, but has no control over the Cannon County Election Commission," Gibbs said.
"If any person feels they have a grievance with Cannon County Election Commission, the Cannon County Republican Party recommends that you file your concerns or complaint with the State of Tennessee Department of State Division of Elections, 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue 9th floor, William Snodgrass Tower, Nashville, TN 37243 Phone: 615-741-7964 Fax: 615-741-1278," he said. "You could also attend the meeting and contact the chairperson of the Cannon County Election Commission and ask that your grievance considered."