Early voting period soon to begin in City Commission and Board of Education races
Gary B. Gray
Mar 13, 2013 at 4:06 PM
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article left out two candidates who are vying for four-year terms on the Johnson City Board of Education.
Early voting for Johnson City’s April 23 Municipal Election begins in about three weeks.
Registered voters within the city’s jurisdiction, which includes parts of Sullivan and Carter counties, will elect two city commissioners and four Board of Education members to four-year terms. One school board member also will be elected to fill an unexpired two-year term.
Early voting begins April 3 and runs through April 18. The Washington County Election Commission’s three early voting sites will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. until noon on Saturdays. The sites will be closed on Sundays.
“The last day to register to vote is March 25, and people can go to our website for voter registration and absentee ballot forms,” said Administrator of Elections Maybell Stewart. “They must either mail or bring the registration forms to our office in person. Absentee ballots can be faxed or emailed as long as there is a valid signature included.
“Military personnel, their family members and U.S. citizens living outside the country can receive their absentee ballot via email upon request. We can actually email these ballots to military and their family overseas, but this is the only exception. The voted ballot must be received by the local county Election Commission office by the close of polls on election day to be counted.”
Stewart said voters who have changed addresses can access the necessary forms on the website. These forms can be faxed, emailed or sent by mail, and they also must include a valid signature.
“Voter identification will be required,” she added. “Any state rf federally issued ID, such as a driver’s license, military ID or a weapons carry permit will be accepted.”
Most candidates have openly acknowledged they expect another low turnout this year and that who gets in and who’s left out could be decided by a few votes. There also is no single compelling issue this time around for which sides can be taken, meaning candidates will have to work that much harder hard to flesh out support.
There were 37,409 registered voters in Johnson City’s 2011 municipal contest, but only 4,510 votes were cast, a roughly 12 percent turnout.
That year, incumbent City Commissioner Marcy Walker was expected to regain her seat. Instead, she was edged out by 245 votes — about the same number of people attending a decent-sized area church on any given Sunday.
Controversy over construction of the new Memorial Park Community Center and whether there would be a stand-alone center for seniors likely pushed a few more people to the polls that year.
The 2009 contest included a pool of 37,431 registered voters; 3,335 turned out, or just under 9 percent
While the total number of registered voters in the 2007 municipal election was not immediately available, 8,422 total votes were recorded, or about 25 percent of all registered voters that year. Even that was a relatively low turnout compared to previous elections.
On April 23, voters will elect two city commissioners to four-year terms.
Candidates include Jane Myron, city commissioner and former mayor; Jenny Brock, former Johnson City Board of Education member; David Tomita, Washington County commissioner; Frank Bolus, former Washington County commissioner; William “Bud” Hill, who ran unsuccessfully for a City Commission seat in 2011; Bart Mikitowicz, a project coordinator for Johnson City’s Glass & Concrete Contracting; and Vance Cheek Jr., former city commissioner and mayor.
Voters also will elect four Board of Education members to four-year terms and one member to fill Brock’s two-year unexpired term.
Candidates for the four seats include incumbents Chairwoman Kathy Hall, Vice Chairman Richard Manahan and Tom Hager. Newcomers Jonathan Kinnick, Kenneth “Herb” Greenlee, John Hunter, David Alven and Mahmood “Michael” Sabri also are vying for the four-year terms on the seven-member board.
Sheila Cox, who serves as the board’s secretary, will be vacating her four-year seat and seeking the unexpired two-year term. James Povlich also is running for that seat.
The City Commission is comprised of five elected at-large members. Commissioners are elected to four-year overlapping terms on a non-partisan basis. Elections are held every two years, which creates a rotation of two commissioners one election cycle and three the next election cycle.
Commissioners make $100 per month; the mayor makes $150 per month.
The Board of Education is comprised of seven voting members, including the chairman or chairwoman. Members serve four-year terms and are elected on a non-partisan basis. They receive no compensation.