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Election Commission uncorks wine in groceries referendum

August 25th, 2014 9:08 pm by Becky Campbell

Election Commission uncorks wine in groceries referendum

Voters in Johnson City and Jonesborough will get to choose if they want to see wine on grocery store shelves after the county election commission approved including the question on the November ballot in a meeting Monday.

Commissioner Jon Ruetz made the motion to place the wine referendum on the ballot for voters in those two jurisdictions within Washington County. Both motions passed unanimously.

Earlier this month, Maybell Stewart, the county’s administrator of elections, said the office counted 1,722 signatures for Johnson City, which needed only 1,316, a figure set by the new law of 10 percent of the votes tallied in the most recent gubernatorial election.

Jonesborough’s petitions garnered 195 signatures, which surpassed the 150-signature requirement to be placed on the ballot.

The commission also agreed to proceed with the process of relocating two voting precincts because they have outgrown their current facilities.

Midway Community Center and Conklin School are no longer viable locations for voters, commissioners said. After the meeting, Stewart said Midway, which services voters inside and outside Johnson City, is too small for the number of voters assigned there and a ramp leading into one of the rooms is not ADA compliant.

She said 2,876 city voters and 740 county voters are assigned to that polling location.

Conklin School, she said, was damaged during the 2012 tornado that swept through Washington County and has not been repaired. The facility has no running water, so the bathroom facilities are inoperable.

The commission is looking at moving Midway to Midway Baptist Church and Conklin to Mount Wesley Church. There is not a formal agreement with those organizations, but the commission will attempt to get the details ironed out and voters notified before the November election.

Prior to discussing both those issues, the commission certified the Aug. 7 election without discussion or questions. Commissioners signed certificates of election for each county official elected. The swearing-in ceremony for county officials will occur Thursday at 9 a.m. in the Washington County Justice Center.

The public is invited to the ceremony.

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