By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
Cannon County absentee voters will notice a change in their voting process for the state and federal general election, Nov. 4, according to Administrator of Elections Dorinda Mankin.
Absentee voters will receive a printed paper ballot with the names of each candidate and a corresponding number. They also will receive a "bubble" ballot, which is a optical scan-style ballot that requires participants to fill in the bubble that corresponds with the number of the candidates for which they want to vote.
The bubble ballot is much like standardized test forms used in schools, according to Mankin.
"Only absentee voters will use this process," Mankin said. "It should make the process of counting the ballots much quicker on election night."
The Tennessee Election Commission sent bubble ballots and scanners to every county in the state this year and it was optional for them to use, Mankin said.
Cannon County did not utilize the bubble ballot for absentee voting in the May primary or the August General Election. As a result, 176 absentee ballots were counted by hand in August and created a lengthy process after a power outage throughout the county.
Mankin said she had suggested using the bubble ballot for the May and August elections but it was met with resistance by the Election Commission.
"This should make the process of counting absentee ballots much smoother," Mankin said.
The November ballot will not only include state and federal races, but also the District 2 Cannon County School Board election will be included.
Tim Powers and Frank Walkup were the only two candidates to turn in qualifying papers for the seat that was vacated when Chris Blackburn resigned his post.
Blackburn defeated Walkup, a write-in candidate, in the August General Election. Blackburn had actually resigned as a school board member in June but his name was already on the ballot for the August election. Since Blackburn won and announced he would not assume the position, another election for the seat was required.