published Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Jasper voting precinct moving

JASPER, Tenn. -- Voting Precinct 10 in Marion County will have a new home for the Nov. 6 elections.

On Monday, the Marion County Commission voted 12-2 to move the precinct from the Election Commission offices in downtown Jasper to the new County Commission Building at 5520 U.S. Highway 41.

Commissioner Marshall Raines, chairman of the Building Use Committee, said county Election Administrator Gary Reames requested the move because election officials were having trouble hearing phone conversations during voting hours.

"They're having problems hearing and several other problems there, so they wanted to get approval," he said. "[The committee] sees no problem with that."

Commissioner Louin Campbell stressed that early voting still will take place at the election commission.

"[This move] is not going to be for early voting," he said. "All this is going to be is for voting on Election Day."

Commissioner Donald Blansett, who voted against the move, said he wanted "a little more clarification" of the problems with hearing.

"Couldn't we just put a door there?" Blansett asked.

Officials said moving the precinct could cause new problems.

"There should be some concern about traffic issues for elderly drivers [at the commission building]," County Mayor John Graham said. "It's a much, much more dangerous place to come in and out of than the election commission office."

Allowing campaigners around the facility during voting represents another issue, Commission Chairman Les Price said, because the commission building is surrounded by private property.

"That's all private property, and I would assume [the property owners] would have a problem with that," he said.

Graham said the request needed to be acted upon at this month's board meeting because Reames needed time to send out notices to the voters if it was approved.

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