Deadline to register for city voting coming up next week

J. H. Osborne • Apr 19, 2013 at 6:56 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Voters in Kingsport, Bristol and Bluff City will go to the polls May 21 to cast ballots in elections for their respective city governments.

The deadline to register and be eligible to vote in those elections is Monday.

In-person registration must be completed by 5 p.m. that day, while mailed registration applications must be postmarked by Monday, Administrator of Elections Jason Booher said Thursday.

Early voting for city elections begins May 1 at the Sullivan County Election Commission Office in Blountville and expands to Bristol (National Guard Armory) and Kingsport (Civic Auditorium) on May 9. Early voting ends May 16.

Voters that have moved and not notified the Election Commission of their change of address should do so prior to voting in order to prevent any delays when appearing to vote, Booher said.

And under state law, voters need to remember to bring an acceptable form of photo identification, Booher said.

“The photo ID law was recently changed by the General Assembly,” Booher said. “The significant change in the law requires voters to present a photo ID issued by the federal government or the state of Tennessee. In the elections of 2012 a voter was able to present a photo ID issued by any state; now only a state of Tennessee-issued photo ID or federal government-issued photo ID are acceptable. College student and local government-issued photo IDs remain invalid for voting purposes.”

For more information, contact the Sullivan County Election Commission at 323-6444 or visit www.scelect.org.

In Kingsport voters will elect a mayor, three aldermen and two members of the Kingsport Board of Education.

In the mayoral race, Mayor Dennis Phillips will face challenger Gary Lane.

Candidates for alderman include incumbents John Clark and Tom Parham; Linda Buckles; Colette George; and Eric Kerney.

Bristol, Tennessee’s city election ballot on May 21 will include three city council district seats (East, currently held by Joel Staton; South, currently held by Margaret Feierabend; and West, currently held by David Shumaker).

Bristol, Tennessee BOE seats on the May 21 ballot include: East, in which Kelly Buskell served until his death earlier this week; South, currently held by Nelson Pyle; and West, currently held by Gwen Ellis.

Candidates include:

• Staton filed to run for reelection to the East District City Council seat. He faces three challengers on the ballot — Don Evans, Chad Keen, and Morgan Packard Lorio.

• In the South District City Council seat race, Feierabend filed to run for reelection. She faces two challengers on the ballot — Vince Turner; and Jack Young.

• Shumaker filed to seek reelection to the West District City Council seat, and will face challenger Lea Powers on the ballot.

• For Bristol BOE’s East District, Buskell and Ellis both filed and are on the ballot — as is newcomer Jill M. Harrison.

• Nelson Pyle filed and is the sole candidate for the South District BOE seat.

• Jim N. Butcher filed and is the sole candidate for the West District BOE seat.

In Bluff City, Mayor Irene Wells and Vice Mayor Lon Gene Leonard will square off in a race for the mayor’s seat.

Wells last ran for election for an alderman seat four years ago. In a five-way race for two alderman seats on the ballot in 2009, Wells placed first, with 147 votes (compared to 132 for Robert Miller, the other alderman elected that year).

In mid 2011, halfway through her elected alderman term, Wells joined with two outgoing alderman to appoint herself mayor after the seat was left vacant for more than a year when the elected mayor resigned.

Leonard, named vice mayor by fellow aldermen shortly after his most recent election to the BMA in 2011, had served on the BMA in the past — and ran for mayor in 2009.

In that 2009 mayor race, Leonard received 127 votes, compared to 154 votes for Todd Malone — who resigned within a year.Miller, an alderman since 2009, is seeking reelection.

The other alderman seat up for vote on the May ballot is currently held by Sheena Cornwell.

Cornwell did not file to seek reelection.

In addition to Miller, two other candidate hopefuls are running for alderman: Richard Bowling and Ray Harrington.

In the town’s last election, in 2011, Bowling placed fourth in what was a six-way race for three alderman seats on the ballot — receiving 113 votes, compared to 152 votes for Alderman Melvin Carrier, the next closest candidate who won a seat in that election. Alderman Bryan Mullins received 157 votes — and Leonard was the top voter getter with 165 votes.

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