published Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Crossville, Tenn., woman denied GOP primary vote

CROSSVILLE, Tenn. — A Crossville woman has been denied the opportunity to vote in the Republican primary after a poll watcher challenged her GOP credentials.

An election panel on Tuesday upheld the denial of Mickey Eldridge's eligibility to vote in the Republican contest because of her past support for Democrats, WBIR-TV reported.

"It was disgraceful and this is a sad day in our community," said Eldridge. "I want my vote to count, that's the main thing."

Eldridge said she was asked to produce her voting history and then took an oath of allegiance to the Republican Party.

Tennessee voters aren't registered by party and voters often participate in different primaries depending on developments in a given campaign. But poll watchers can challenge voters if they are "not a bona fide member of political party" they are seeking to vote in.

Cumberland County Mayor Brock Hill, who ran as a Republican in 2006, condemned the decision.

"We really couldn't believe anyone would do it because it's an infringement on civil rights," Hill said. "I'm really embarrassed for the Republican Party here."

Eldridge was stopped by a poll watcher supporting state Rep. Eric Swafford, R-Pikeville, on Monday.

"I don't really understand what the big controversy or big story is," Swafford said. "We, just like everybody else, think elections are sacred. We want open, honest, and fair elections for everybody."

State Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney said in a statement to The Associated Press that while state law allows for what occurred in Crossville, he wants to "encourage all Democrats with good intentions" to vote in GOP primaries.

"Ronald Reagan was once a Democrat and at some point he had to cast his first Republican vote," he said. "We are confident there will be many converts to the Republican Party this year."

A spokesman for State Election Coordinator Mark Goins said he had no comment beyond noting that state law "allows for challenges of election results."

It's not the first time that Tennessee's lack of voter registration has raised questions.

A Republican activist this summer petitioned Devaney to consider stripping 8th Congressional District candidate Steve Fincher of his GOP credentials because he had voted in four Democratic primaries since 2002 and only once in a Republican one. Devaney declined.

State Democrats in 2008 vacated then-Sen. Rosalind Kurita's 19-vote primary win, partly on the basis that Republicans had been encouraged to cross over and vote for her. Her ouster was widely condemned among Republicans.

Former U.S. Rep. David Davis of Johnson City that same year mulled — but ultimately abandoned — a challenge of his Republican primary defeat to Phil Roe over what he called "huge numbers of Democrats" crossing over to vote for him.

The potential challenge of Tennessee's open primaries was discouraged by Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville, who said at the time that it would be "a major mistake." Ramsey is running for governor this year.

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FM_33 said...

Hey you think this story is bad i was forced into the same thing by a Democratic pollster here in Chattanooga. I wanted to vote for a all " Independent' ticket in a democrat voting place.

I have voted Democrat in 2000 / 2004 elections and in the local races here and there and voted for my Indy's the rest of the way.

Why do people still say i am a Republican ? When the record shows a different pattern all together. The attack machine of both the DNC/RNC is ruff on us but most of us know how to hang in there and make our voices heard any how.

July 21, 2010 at 10:46 a.m.
FM_33 said...

I FM-33 voted in....

1991 = Perot

1996 = 0

2000 = Gore

2004 = Kerry

2008 = Nader

Now am i a Republican ?

July 21, 2010 at 10:51 a.m.
FM_33 said...

The President / VP will be in 2012 if it is...

Republican Bob Coker / Michael Steele

Democrat Joe Biden / Phil Breadesn

That's if Obama steps down and does not wont to run another term.

Hmmm........suppose this comes true.....hahahahahahahaha !

July 21, 2010 at 10:57 a.m.
FM_33 said...

Ok how about this combo.......

Republican.... Mitch McConnell / Lisa Murkowski

Democrat .... Joe Biden /Mary L. Landrieu

That is another possible future that i seen in a dream.

hahahahahahahaha .....just kidding or am i....hmmmm !

July 21, 2010 at 11:05 a.m.
FM_33 said...

Independent..... FM_33 / Jessie Ventura

Thatis the winning combo that will lead this country back to plenty of jobs for all and a strong defense once again in this pre 911 world.

July 21, 2010 at 11:07 a.m.
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