published Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Hamilton County Election Commission approves ballot

Municipal votes

* East Ridge

* Red Bank

* Soddy-Daisy

* Signal Mountain

* Walden

* Lakesite

As the days tick down toward the Nov. 6 election, the Hamilton County Election Commission is making final preparations while controversy continues over redrawn precinct lines and voter ID laws.

Besides deciding who wins the presidency, the upcoming election will include races for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and state legislators, as well as six municipal elections in the county.

At its meeting Wednesday morning, the Election Commission approved the final ballot and heard a range of concerns about the upcoming election.

Hamilton County Democratic Party President Paul Smith talked about the county's recently redrawn precinct lines, which he said remain unclear to many voters.

"Even right up to early [primary] voting, we could never get an accurate map," he said.

He cited troubles for about 300 disabled residents of Whiteside Manor, who used to be able to walk across the street to vote but now must find transportation two miles away because of new lines.

Smith also questioned the number of polling places available for early voting, stating that a large early voting turnout during the Aug. 2 primaries indicated a need for more than four early voting locations.

Commissioners said four are enough and it is too expensive to train employees and funnel resources to new locations.

Early voting starts Oct. 17.

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