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April 21, 2014

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Mount Carmel, Church Hill excluded from liquor referendum

Published: 3:38 PM, 06/22/2012 Last updated: 11:30 AM, 06/25/2012

Source: The Rogersville Review

By Bill Grubb
News Editor

ROGERSVILLE - According to state election officials, voters in Hawkins Count's two largest cities are excluded from the petition drive to get a liquor by the drink referendum on the Hawkins County November ballot.
    Petitions are currently available at certain locations, including area restaurants relating to the referendum.
    Administrator of Elections Donna Sharp said that she had contacted Tennessee's Assistant Coordinator of Elections Beth Henry-Robertson regarding the impact of possible petitions for Rogersville as well as for the entire county.
    The state official replied that Rogersville residents can vote in both referendums, if the questions make it on the November ballot, but Mount Carmel and Church Hill residents are excluded.
    "Church Hill and Mount Carmel residents will not be able to (vote)," Henry-Robertson replied in an e-mail. "Based on their populations (greater than the population of the least populate county- Pickett. They (the two cities) are considered their own jurisdictions and would have to pass their own liquor referendums, but they could be on the ballot with the county question, if filed in a timely manner."
    Census results indicated Pickett County only has a total population of 5,077 residents.  Church Hill has 6,737 residents while Mount Carmel has 5,429 residents.
    Sharp said the fact the two largest cities are excluded will create extra work for election officials when they review the petitions.
     "The signers of the petitions have to be registered voters qualified to vote in the jurisdiction which the question covers. Our office must check the validity of each signature, and we will have to disqualify Church Hill and Mount Carmel city residents," Sharp explained.
    She also said the deadline set by law for the referendum and the deadline to have everything ready for the November election give election officials a lot of work to complete in a very short time.
     "The deadline to submit the petition is September 7, 60 days before election day.  I can't demand, but I hope, we get it before then because we would otherwise be ready to submit our ballot to E S & S after the candidate's withdrawal deadline of August 23," the administrator said. "After layout and proofing is completed for the machine ballots, E S & S must submit to a printer in Nashville for paper ballots to be printed and shipped for us to send to the military and overseas voters by September 22."


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