At night’s end, the Washington County Election Commission will have worked its way through the first voting contest with a new administrator of elections in more than 28 years.
Maybell Stewart will be at the switch as interim administrator, overseeing 39 precincts where voters on Super Tuesday will choose which Republican presidential candidate they feel deserves to be at the head of the class.
“Commissioners were here Sunday working to get all the supplies and paperwork in place that will be needed,” Stewart said. “Election commissioners are required to be here at the office should any problems arise, but the process so far has gone well, and we haven’t had any problems.”
Stewart said two inspectors — one Democrat and one Republican — will be roaming polling places today, as they have done for every election.
“They will visit the polls to see if workers have everything they need,” she said. “They have supplies, electric cords and other items with them in case anything is needed.”
Stewart said the telephones had been ringing all day Monday but that it was typical for that to happen one day in advance of an election.
Today’s ballot includes the election of the county’s Assessor of Property and one County Commission seat that will permanently fill the spot that opened up last year when Richard Shadden passed away.
These positions, currently held by Republicans Scott Buckingham and Mike Ford, respectively, are uncontested and will roll on to the Aug. 2 county general election and state primary. It is on that date when Washington Countians also will tend to a quarter-cent sales tax referendum on that ballot in an attempt to rein in revenues for schools.
The county still is attempting to get Johnson City officials to commit to an agreement in which proceeds from the increase would be more evenly split.
Meanwhile, Carter County’s Ronnie B. Taylor is running unopposed for assessor of property. He has served as assessor since 2008.
In the 1st District, there is a contest between Gary Perry and Buford Peters for one of the seats on the Carter County Commission from Stoney Creek. Perry ran unsuccessfully for constable from the district in 2010. Peters was appointed to the seat by the County Commission in September, following the death of Commissioner Paul Mottern. Peters formerly served on the commission from 1994-2002.
The other race in the 1st District is to fill a vacant constable’s position. Larry Perry is the only candidate running for the post.
There also is a contested race for constable in the 6th District. Joseph Tine Hatley and John Henson are competing for the post formerly held by Ross Potter before he was killed in a motor vehicle accident last year.
After Potter’s death, the County Commission appointed Henson to fill the vacancy in October.
Henson, a veteran of the Carter County Sheriff’s Department, worked his way up from patrol officer to captain before he was elected sheriff in 1996. He held the office for 10 years before he was defeated by current sheriff Chris Mathes.
The only local office that will appear on the Republican Primary ballot is Unicoi County assessor of property. Three candidates are seeking the nomination: incumbent Patsy Bennett, property assessor’s office employee Wayne Peterson Jr. and local real estate agent Rocky McInturff.
The winner of the primary will be on the ballot for August’s general election. Because there are no Independent or Democratic candidates seeking the office, the winner of today’s primary will only be challenged by write-in candidates in the August general election.
Meanwhile, voters should remember that all Tennesseans this year must show photo identification before voting. Provisional ballots will be available should voters find themselves without proper identification.
All precincts will be open today from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Press staff writers John Thompson and Brad Hicks contributed to this report.