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Saturday marks last chance to beat crowds for Aug. 7 election

J. H. Osborne • Jul 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Saturday is the last day of early voting in Sullivan County for Aug. 7 elections.

And today is the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot for Aug. 7 elections.

Early voting locations for Sullivan County voters are the county’s election offices in Blountville, Kingsport’s Civic Auditorium and the YWCA in Bristol. Hours at all three locations are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and Friday, and 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday.

As of poll closing Wednesday, more than 2,800 voters had cast early ballots in person since early voting began.

Registered county voters can cast an early ballot at any of the three early voting locations, no matter where they live.

Sullivan County voters will go to the polls Aug. 7 for three ballots: Democratic and Republican party primaries for state and federal offices on the November ballot and a general election that includes two County Commission seats, four county school board seats, property assessor, and all constable districts.

Voters must pick one primary or the other — you cannot vote in both. Voters, however, may cast a general election ballot without participating in either primary.

Sample ballots for both primaries and the county’s general election are available online at www.scecweb.org. That Web site also includes other election related information including a demonstration and instructions for voting machines.

The Aug. 7 ballot includes:

•State House District 1 — County Commissioner Michael Surgenor has filed to run in the Democratic primary to become the party’s candidate for the Tennessee House of Representatives. That seat is held by Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol. Lundberg is seeking re-election.

•State House District 2 — Incumbent state Rep. Nathan Vaughn, D-Kingsport, is seeking re-election. Republican Tony Shipley of Kingsport is seeking his party’s nomination to challenge Vaughn in November.

•State House District 3 — Incumbent state Rep. Jason Mumpower, R-Bristol, is seeking re-election. He has no challengers from Sullivan County.

•State Senate District 2 — Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, is seeking re-election to the Tennessee Senate. Kingsport’s James W. Jones has filed to seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Ramsey.

•U.S. House District 1— Two Kingsport Democrats, Robert A. Russell and Michael A. Donihe, have filed in Sullivan County to seek the party’s nomination to run in November for the U.S. House of Representatives seat held by David Davis, R-Johnson City.

Davis is seeking re-election and faces opposition in the GOP primary from Johnson City Mayor Phil Roe and Johnson City resident Mahmood “Michael” Sabri.

All four Sullivan County BOE members whose seats are on the ballot are seeking re-election unopposed: District 1, Jack Bales; District 3, Jim Kiss; District 5, Ron Smith; and District 7, Betty Combs.

In all, seven candidates filed to run for two County Commission seats on the August ballot — two people for one seat, and five for the other seat.

Both County Commission district elections are to fill out two years left on unexpired terms of commissioners who died within the last year.

•District 3 (Bristol area) voters will elect someone to finish out the term of Ralph Harr, who died in late 2007. The County Commission appointed his son, Jon Harr, to fill the seat until the election in August.

•District 6 (which runs from Bloomingdale to Indian Springs) voters will elect someone to finish out the term of Howard Patrick, who died earlier this year. The County Commission appointed his wife, Pat Patrick, to fill the seat until the election in August.

Neither Jon Harr nor Pat Patrick sought to be on the ballot to hold those seats past August.

Two people are running for Harr’s commission seat: Bart Long, 711 Holston Ave., Bristol; and Robert W. Neal, 361 Blountville Hwy.

Five people are running for Patrick’s seat: Bobby E. Brooks, 111 Chateaugay Road; former County Commissioner Larry Hall, 1314 Childress Ferry Road; Matthew J. Johnson, 413 Ferncliff Drive; Rodger K. Jones, 216 New Beason Well Road; and Craig Ramey, 616 Newland Ave.

The August ballot also includes races for all the county’s constable districts and for county property assessor — with Republican incumbent Bobby Icenhour unopposed for re-election.

Sullivan County residents who early vote for Aug. 7 elections will use paper ballots and optical scan equipment if they cast their early ballots at the Sullivan County Office Building in Blountville.

The optical scan system will not be used at the Kingsport and Bristol early voting satellite locations for this election, and the optical scan system will not be used in any precinct on Election Day.

A state law requires all counties to begin using optical scan voting equipment no later than November 2010.

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