Short Mtn. Citizens Upset Over Change In Polling Places

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Many citizens of the Short Mountain community are upset about losing their polling places for voting and they are coming together to do something about what they call a "tragedy and injustice."

In November, the Cannon County Election Commission unanimously voted to cut expenses by moving some of the polling places and eliminate workers. As part of the cuts, Short Mountain 2 would vote at Gassaway, Short Mountain 4 would vote at East Side, and Pleasant Ridge would vote at Auburntown.

Election Commission Chairman Lindbergh Dennis told the group such cuts could save more than $6,500 annually. The motion to move the polling places was made by Matt Studd and seconded by Jackie Gannon. The motion passed unanimously.

Citizens of Short Mountain are now, seemingly, unanimous in their disgust.

"In all my years of voting on Short Mountain, I have never known republicans and democrats to be in agreement on issues, but we are together on this," said Ronald Lawson, who has been voting on Short Mountain for 41 years and helping lead a campaign to get the vote reversed and voting places restored on Short Mountain. "They are trying to screw us up here, trying, but it ain't over yet. We are fighting back. People have been voting up here since before the school opened. It goes back to the 1940s."

Short Mountain residents had always voted at Short Mountain School but that will soon change. The change in voting places will become effective with the March 6 Presidential Preference Primary.

"This move saves the taxpayers a total of $6,641 (per year on a countywide election)," Dennis said. "Voters will not be inconvenienced by our action. We discussed it thoroughly and all five commissioners believed it was the right move to make."

Those commissioners don't live on Short Mountain and did not give its residents a chance to voice their concerns, citizens say.

A sign in front of Short Mountain Market reads, "Short Mountain Community wants their voting places back," and petitions are being circulated that read, "We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who urge our leaders to act now to keep all polling places in Cannon County as they are, without change or closing any."

More than 100 signatures are on the petition.

Debby Horvath, who runs Short Mountain Market, says citizens are outraged.

"I couldn't repeat to you a lot of what I have heard," Horvath said. "They are upset. We all are. We pay our taxes so we pay for their positions. We want them all fired. We are a community and they are picking on us. It is not nice to tell us to do whatever we want because it doesn't matter, they are going to do whatever they want anyway and then laugh at us. That is way beyond wrong, so we are doing something about it. They may take away the place where we go to vote, but we still have our voice."

Anyone interested in more information regarding the petition can contact Lawson (615-785-7537) or Gary Nokes (615-542-8860). 


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Members Opinions:
January 04, 2012 at 9:55am
I live 1 mile from Eastside and now have to drive to Auburntown. It's time for a new chairman!
James Adkins
January 04, 2012 at 12:50pm
Short mountain citizens aren't the only voters upset over having their voting places changed. I live in sight of the courthouse and will have to drive to Auburntown to vote.
January 04, 2012 at 1:13pm
It's great that they are trying to save money but moving them to the other side of the county makes no sense. Why not just have all the polls at the community center in Woodbury?
January 05, 2012 at 12:49pm
I understand the frustration as well because I could throw a rock and hit the Stones River Hospital from my house and I too have to drive to Auburntown if I wait to vote on the day of the election.

The alternative solution is to utilize the two week early voting process and simply drive by the Election Office and vote.

I am in town every day so it won't be that big of a burden to stop by.
January 05, 2012 at 8:01pm
It is really not the fault of the Election Commission as to where the District lines are drawn. They were not consulted or ask to be a part of drawing the lines. Perhaps if they had been, they could have done it in a more reasonable and convienent manner. They have to work with what they have and it is the State Law that voters have to vote within the District where they live. Too bad if you reside close to the District line and are closer to a polling place in another District. As Corey said, there is a generous time of early voting available at the Election Office in Woodbury and I'm sure most people will make it thru Woodbury during the early voting schedule if it is closer for them to vote there. I appalude the Election Commission for trying to save money and provide county citizens with fair, efficient elections.
January 09, 2012 at 8:00am
How much could be saved if there were only one voting place for all county voters? This puts an undue burden on seniors to go to the other side of the county. A better solution could be found for eliminating Short Moutain voting location. The citizens should have had a right to a meeting before the decision. After all the voters put you in office.
January 09, 2012 at 8:11am
No one who serves on the Election Commission, or works in the Election Office, is voted to their position. They are all appointed or hired.
January 09, 2012 at 9:53am
I would also say that the citizens had the chance to voice thier opinions because they could have attended any meeting of the Election Commission held and asked for time to speak. But they didn't because no one chooses to get involved until AFTER the fact.

The meeting notice is posted here on this website and all they had to do was look at it and then show up.

And if you made one precint such as the community center for everyone to vote at wouldn't those same seniors you refer to have just as hard of time getting across to the other side of the county to vote there?

Early vote when you go to town to buy groceries, get gas, drive home from work, go to the post office, go to a Dr.'s appointment, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. and you solve your problem and the county still saves $6500.
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