published Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Monteagle voters face Election Day shuffle

MORE INFORMATION

For more information or for election questions, call the Grundy County Election Commission at 931-692-3551.

Election Day for most voters in Monteagle, Tenn., will be a little like a scavenger hunt.

Most years, Monteagle's municipal elections are held at the same time as nearby Tracy City's on a date free of any other elections.

But not this year.

In the upcoming elections, most Monteagle voters will make two stops as they cast ballots, officials said.

A few years ago, Monteagle leaders decided to shift the city election to coincide with general elections starting in 2012, Grundy County Administrator of Elections Donna Basham said. The election is "free" for the town if the county manages and pays for it, Basham said.

Because Monteagle is split among three counties -- Grundy, Marion and a little slice of Franklin known as the Deep Woods -- state law allows the city to choose one of the counties to manage the city election. For the first time, Grundy will have that duty for both ballots on Nov. 6, Basham said.

The Grundy-Marion county line divides Monteagle along Dixie Lee Highway with about 350 of the town's Marion County voters to the south, 350 Grundy County voters to the north, and another 40 to 50 in the Deep Woods community to the west in Franklin County.

Basham admits the first run on Nov. 6 could be a little confusing, but she said election officials are ready.

On Election Day, regardless of county residency, Monteagle voters will cast their ballots in city races at the Monteagle City Hall Annex on College Street.

But for the general election ballot, Monteagle's Marion County voters will go to Monteagle City Hall on Dixie Lee Highway, and Franklin County's Deep Woods voters will poll at Sewanee Elementary School on University Avenue in nearby Sewanee, she said. Grundy voters who live in Monteagle can vote in one stop at the City Hall Annex.

For early voting that starts Wednesday and ends Nov. 1, all Monteagle voters should go to the satellite polling location at 10218 U.S. Highway 41 or the Election Commission office at the Grundy County Courthouse in Altamont, Basham said. If early voters are from Marion or Franklin counties, they must cast general election early votes at their early-voting location in their home county.

Grundy's not the only county managing a multicounty municipal election.

Deputy Administrator of Elections Charlotte Durham, in Coffee County, said a similar situation has existed for years in Tullahoma's municipal elections. Voters there are used to the effects of the split across the Coffee-Franklin county line, but Franklin voters still are occasionally "surprised" by the two-stop voting situation, she said.

"Sometimes they just make a day of it and go to both counties," she said.

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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