Johnson City voters go to the polls today to fill two seats on the City Commission and five seats on the city’s Board of Education. Judging by the light turnout for early voting (less than 1,941 have voted early by mail or in person), one of two things is going on:
A majority of Johnson City’s 37,400 eligible voters has been waiting for Election Day to go to the polls; or
Voter apathy will make the turnout for today’s election one of the lowest in the city’s history.
We are hoping for the former, but we fear the latter is actually the case. The election has seven candidates vying to fill two seats on the City Commission. Jane Myron is the only commission incumbent on the ballot. Also on the ballot are Frank Bolus, Jenny L. Brock, Vance Cheek Jr., William H. “Bud” Hill Jr., Bart I Mikitowicz and David K. Tomita. The Press has endorsed Brock and Tomita to fill these seats.
We believe Brock and Tomita are two candidates who will work to continue the momentum the city is now enjoying.
The race for the city’s Board of Education finds incumbents Tom Hager and Kathy Hall and Dick Manahan, as well as newcomers Kenneth “Herb” Greenlee, John Hunter, Jonathan Kinnick and Mahmood “Michael” Sabri vying for one of four seats. The Press has endorsed Hall, Hunter, Manahan and Kinnick for those seats.
Voters will also elect a member to serve the remaining two years of an unexpired term on the School Board. This race is between incumbent Sheila B. Cox and James “Jamie” Povlich Jr. We have endorsed Povlich for this seat.
Why do so few voters participate in municipal elections? We’ve heard many excuses over the years, but none adequately explain the reasons for not going to the polls. Some of the flimsiest include: “I didn’t know there was an election going on,” “I don’t know enough about the candidates to make an informed choice” and “I don’t have time to vote.”
We find the latter excuse to be extremely bogus. Voters have two weeks to cast an early ballot. More and more Tennesseans have embraced this option, but if they prefer, voters can still go to the polls on Election Day.
Polls will open today at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.