Petitions to run for offices to be decided in the Aug. 4 elections were made available by the election commission Friday, and as of Monday five candidates had picked up their paperwork.
Petitions are now available for candidates for three local seats on the school board, and Smithville, Liberty and Dowelltown aldermanic positions. The two DeKalb County state representatives will be up for grabs as well. Petitions must be returned by noon on April 7 to qualify.
Election commission office hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The school board seats in District 4, currently held by Kate Miller, District 5, held by W.J. (Dub) Evins III, and District 6, held by Doug Stephens will be chosen by voters.
Three aldermen seats in Smithville, currently held by Shawn Jacobs, Josh Miller and Danny Washer will be chosen. A mayor and two aldermen will be elected in Dowelltown. Gerald Bailiff currently occupies the mayor’s office, and the aldermen’s seats held by Joe Bogle and Kevin Kent will be voted on.
The four aldermen seats currently held by Jason Ray, Paul Neal, Todd Dodd and J.D. Bratten in Liberty will be up for reelection as well.
According to Election Commissioner Dennis Stanley, the candidate chosen for Bratten’s seat will serve the final year of an unexpired term. Stanley told the Review that candidates for alderman in Liberty should specify whether they are running for one of the full, four-year term positions, or are seeking the one-year seat.
State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver (District 40) and Mark Pody (District 46) are also up for re-election in August.
Stanley said the five petitions all issued on Friday, were obtained by Kate Miller, seeking reelection to the school board in the Fourth District, W.J. (Dub) Evins, for reelection to the school board in the Fifth District, Doug Stephens, for reelection to the School Board in the Sixth District; Shawn Jacobs, seeking reelection as a Smithville alderman, and Eddie Dwayne Blair a candidate for one of the full-term Liberty alderman seats.
Meanwhile, hours have been set for early voting hours in the March 1 Presidential Preference Primaries and DeKalb County Democratic Primary, and a sample ballot is available on the election commission website. Early voting in DeKalb will take place at the courthouse, and will be held from February 10-23, except Feb. 15 (President’s Day).
Early voting hours, beginning Feb. 10, are:
• Mondays 1-5 p.m.
• Tuesdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
• Wednesdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
• Thursdays 2-6 p.m.
• Fridays 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
• Saturdays 9 a.m.-noon.
"The Election Commission always attempts to arrange the early voting schedule to accommodate a wide range of voters," Stanley said. "This schedule includes two periods of afternoon voting, as well as Saturday voting, to accommodate voters who need to plan around their jobs. This is a lengthy ballot due to the number of presidential candidates and the Republican delegate candidates. Voters are encouraged to take advantage of early voting so the lines will not be as long on election day."
The sample ballot may be viewed at "http://www.dekalbelections.com/sample-ballot/."
Stanley also stressed that voters should be aware of new rules concerning cell phones at the polls. "In an effort to create a pleasant, non-disruptive and orderly atmosphere without undue delays for all voters, the legislature passed a new law, effective this month, concerning using cell phones in the polling place. The law prohibits using mobile electronic or communication devices by voters for telephone conversations, recording or taking photographs or videos while inside the polling place. The law also requires the silencing of cell phones," Stanley shared.
The election commissioner also said voters should be aware of a new phone application to help them through the process.
"The Tennessee Division of Elections has created an "app" called GoVoteTn which contains a lot of voting information individualized for each voter," the commissioner informed. "Voters will be able to access this ‘app’ or others if needed for informational purposes, but phone conversations are not allowed, the phones must be silenced, and any election content on the phone cannot be shown to other voters. This "app" is a great tool to use in order to be prepared when you step into the voting booth. When voters are unprepared, they slow down the entire voting process for all voters and may have their time in the voting booth limited pursuant to T.C.A. 2-7-118(a)," He concluded.