Short Mtn. Citizens Upset Over Change In Polling Places

TONY STINNNETT, Courier Co-Editor

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).