Bradley County Election Commission seeks new polling place after tornado destruction

Bradley County Election Commission seeks new polling place after tornado destruction

October 4th, 2011 by Randall Higgins in News

The Blue Springs Elementary School campus is under lock and key now for public safety after April 27 tornado damage. That leaves Bradley County looking for another polling place.

Photo by Randall Higgins/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- With the clock ticking toward Tennessee's March 6, 2012, presidential primaries, the Bradley County Election Commission is looking for a voting location to replace Blue Springs Elementary School.

The school, demolished by an April 27 tornado, had been the election precinct for Bradley County's 6th District.

The county's election commission met Monday to consider several steps to be taken soon in preparation for the election.

Commissioner Stephen Crump said there is nothing much election officials can do about a permanent replacement for the Blue Springs precinct until the County Commission approves a redistricting map. The new Blue Springs location would be out of the district, in the neighboring 5th District.

"Fran is going to have to know something pretty quick," Commissioner Dana Burgner said, referring to county Election Director Fran Green.

The most likely temporary location in the rural district would be a church, election commissioners agreed. On Oct. 27, they plan to tour the district, searching for possible precinct locations and a church that will agree to host the voters.

The election commission hopes to approve a 6th District precinct location when it meets in November.

Meanwhile, candidates already are filing petitions for a special election March 6 for a 4th District County Commission seat. One of the district's two commission seats was vacated with the resignation of Howard Thompson, who left the commission the day before he pleaded guilty to one count of attempted theft for knowingly buying stolen merchandise for the flea market he owns on U.S. Highway 64.

The commission appointed educator Clifton Eason to fill Thompson's vacant seat until the next election.

Eason has filed a petition as a candidate to fill the remaining two years of the term.

Also filing Republican primary petitions so far are Charlotte Jones and Jimmie L. Smith, a former commissioner who lost his race two years ago to Adam Lowe.

In other business Monday, the commission agreed to post election information on Facebook and Twitter accounts for a six-month trial period. Election Commissioner Adam Lewis wrote guidelines to be used for the postings.

There will be little staff time involved, Lewis said, and election commission postings will show no favoritism. There will be feedback, he said, because that is the nature of social media. But the feedback can be monitored for inappropriate comments, he said.

Contact Randall Higgins at rhiggins@timesfreepress.com or 423-314-1029.