published Monday, October 10th, 2011

Sequatchie adds district, changes voting sites

POLLING LOCATIONS


Voting precincts for upcoming Sequatchie County elections:

1: Lewis Chapel Community Center, 4726 Henson Gap Road

2: Cagle Community Center, 8208 State Route 8

3: Sequatchie County Courthouse, 22 Cherry St.

4: Sequachee cq Valley Electric Cooperative, 97 Resource Road

5: Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, 5149 East Valley Road

6: Daus Community Center, 90 Daus Community Center Road

7: Dunlap City Training Center, 15609 Rankin Ave.

8: Lone Oak Church of God, 26 Hall Road

9: Fredonia Community Center, 5240 Fredonia Road

Source: Sequatchie County Election Commission

DUNLAP, Tenn. — Sequatchie County is adding a County Commission district and changing voting precincts as a result of redistricting, officials said.

The move restores the 9th District that existed a decade ago before two Dunlap-area districts were combined into one during 2000, Administrator of Elections Linda Tate said.

The new districts won’t affect the County Commission until 2014, but school board members in the odd-numbered districts, including the new 9th, will be up for election in August.

Redistricting forced officials to consider population growth in the Fredonia and Cagle mountaintop communities on either side of state Highway 111.

“This time, the way the mountain areas have grown, it was easier to add a new district,” Tate said. Precinct locations have changed to accommodate the new districts, she said.

County Executive Claude Lewis, who served on the redistricting committee, said technical help from the University of Tennessee County Technical Assistance Service allowed commissioners to move district lines easily compared to past years, when there was a lot of pencil-and-paper work involved.

“CTAS was a big asset; they had the software to make it easy to move the boundaries,” Lewis said.

“The biggest challenge is getting them within the appropriate variance,” he said. Districts are supposed to have approximately equal populations. The variance is 5 percent from the median population size.

Lewis said some residents complained they didn’t want to have to drive to another precinct to vote, and some were worried about how redistricting could affect other activities or services.

He said residents need to know that redistricting involves only elected county offices, not services or volunteer organizations.

One oddity in the August 2012 election will involve filling Lewis’ county commission seat, which became vacant when he was appointed county executive this year. He replaced Michael Hudson, who resigned.

Since Lewis represented the old District 3, voters who lived in that district will have to vote on his replacement even if they are in new districts now, Tate said. Those voters will get special ballots, she said.

About 1,000 people will be involved in the special vote, but Tate said she’s still working out details.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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