Nearly 40 applicants seek Hamilton County election chief job

Nearly 40 applicants seek Hamilton County election chief job

December 4th, 2013 by Louie Brogdon in Local Regional News

Voters enter the Hamilton County Election Commission building in this file photo.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

APPLICANTS

Applicants seeking to become the next Hamilton County Election Commission administrator:

• David Alexy, Chattanooga

• Michael Ballard, Chattanooga

• Jack Boran, Chattanooga

• George Bozeman, Harrison

• Todd Bragg, Chattanooga

• George Clinton, East Ridge

• Erin Crane, East Ridge

• Douglas Davis, Ooltewah

• Jules Doux, Hixson

• Kari Erwin, Chattanooga

• Barry Garner, Raleigh, N.C.

• Dianne Hicks, Chattanooga

• Michael Hudson, Whitwell, Tenn.

• William Jones, Chattanooga

• Michael Kirk, Hixson

• Brad Ledford, Chattanooga

• Jeffrey Lewis, Hixson

• Jocelyn Loza, Apison

• Heidi Mahlum, Sale Creek

• Stacey Margrander, Soddy-Daisy

• Matthew Massengale, Chattanooga

• Joe McDonald, Chattanooga

• Patrick McFadden, Signal Mountain

• Tamara McKamey, Chattanooga

• Larry Minniear, Hixson

• Sharon Moody, Ooltewah

• Justo Morales, Collegedale

• Sherrill Moss, Signal Mountain

• Janina Muller, Chattanooga

• Michael Ogden, Chattanooga

• Louise Patterson, Chattanooga

• Marti Rutherford, Chattanooga

• Lanetta Schatz, Raleigh, N.C.

• Mark Simpson, Chattanooga

• Kerry Steelman, Chattanooga

• Tracy Thomas, Hixson

• David Torbett, Ooltewah

• Teralyn Wade, Chattanooga

• Joelander Wheeler, Chattanooga

With more than 80 government posts slated for ballots across Hamilton County, next year's election will be the biggest in years -- eight to be exact. And nearly 40 people say they want to be in charge of making it happen.

County Human Resources Director Alecia Poe said she received 39 applications from people hoping to fill the shoes of Election Administrator Charlotte Mullis-Morgan, who is stepping down Feb. 4. Included on the list are former Chattanooga City Councilwoman Marti Rutherford and three out-of-towners.

Poe said the Election Commission has final say over the job requirements -- and who fills the post -- the county merely collected the applications. Poe has forwarded them to the Election Commission to consider, she said Tuesday.

Mullis-Morgan has worked in the office for 32 years and been at its helm since 2010. She says anyone who thinks the job only gets busy in election years is "in for a rude awakening."

"Every day. We don't stop -- whether it's a big election year or not. We are always busy. Gracious, there is a lot to do in this office," Mullis-Morgan said.

The office registers voters year-round, plans for future elections, organizes ballots and performs other election-related duties, she said.

That takes a lot of time, according to Mark Goins, coordinator of elections for the Tennessee Secretary of State's Office.

"A lot of it goes into planning the next year, but you can never underestimate the [voter] list maintenance," he said. "You can imagine, going through the voter rolls and removing deceased persons, making sure there are no convicted felons on there -- and just identifying people who have moved. It's a full-time job."

The single biggest challenge the new administrator will face is the giant ballot, Goins said.

"One of the larger challenges the administrator will face is the ballot we have coming in 2014. Whoever it is will have to come up with a plan to alleviate election day lines," Goins said. "They need to think, 'How do I drive these voters to get out and vote early to alleviate those lines on election day.'"

Election Commission Chairman Michael Walden said not all the commissioners have had a chance to review the applications, but the vetting process had started.

"I think some of the commissioners have picked those up and started to go through them, but at this time there is not a timeline for when we would make that decision," Walden said.

Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at lbrogdon@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6481.