DA Looking Into Issue Of County Commission Candidate's Campaign Sending Filled-Out Requests For Absentee Ballot To Elderly Voters

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The District Attorney's Office has been provided with documents that a County Commission candidate's campaign sent filled-out requests for absentee ballots to elderly voters.

Kerry Steelman, election administrator, said there have been four instances in which such requests came from the Elect John Brooks campaign. He said state law says in Section 2-6-202:  (3) A person who is not an employee of an election commission commits a Class E felony if such person gives an application for an absentee ballot to any person. (4) A person who is not an employee of an election commission commits a Class A misdemeanor if such person gives an unsolicited request for application for absentee ballot to any person.

Mr. Brooks, who is seeking to get back the County Commission District 6 seat from Joe Graham, said he received a call from Mr. Steelman about the issue about two weeks ago. He said at the time he told campaign workers to discontinue the practice.

The attorney and former chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party said other candidates have followed the same tactic. "Fred Thompson started it," he said.

He said he believes the law on the subject is "probably unconstitutional." He said, "It used to be a common practice."

One elderly person said she and her husband received a letter in the mail from John Allen Brooks containing what they thought was an election ballot. Her son-in-law came over and examined it. He said it was an application for an absentee by mail ballot.

It was already filled out with the name of the elderly person and it requested a Democratic ballot.

There was included a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the Election Commission.

All the person had to do was sign the application, put it in the envelope and mail it.

Mr. Steelman said his office received two such letters. He said the return address was Elect John Brooks. He said a third was brought in by a candidate and a fourth by a relative of an elderly person who had gotten the letter.

Election Commissioner Chris Clem said, "It certainly sounds inappropriate for a candidate to try to get people to vote by absentee ballot."

He said, "You can have a lot of abuses if you allow candidates to solicit ballots and help people fill them out."

Mr. Steelman said if a person applies for an absentee ballot by mail, then later decides to vote in person, then they could only vote by mail.


Bradley County Woman Involved In Drug Ring Gets 63 Months In Federal Prison

Deborah Ruth Haney was sentenced on Monday to serve 63 in federal prison for selling meth. She appeared before Judge Sandy Mattice. Agents said Ms. Haney was in a drug ring with Lena Roberts, Joseph Varnell and others from July 2014 to February 2015. On Nov. 17, 2014, law enforcement conducted a controlled buy at Ms. Haney's residence in Bradley County. A confidential informant ... (click for more)

Upcoming Bradley County Commission Agenda

Click  here  for the Bradley County Commission agenda. (click for more)

Tennessee River Gorge Trust Trail Warriors Make You Want To Take A Hike

Trail warriors of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust make you want to take a hike.  The Tennessee River Gorge Trust staff and volunteers make a huge difference in the Chattanooga community and have been making the outdoor areas around the River Gorge clean and protected for more than 30 years.  They deserve to be recognized and praised for all of the hard work they have ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Bible In Gatlinburg

The day after fire rained and reigned in Gatlinburg, Isaac McCord, 24 and from Tullahoma, was picking up debris at the popular Dollywood attraction. The theme park had minimal damage compared to the hundreds of structure either lost or severely damaged in Sevier County. He picked up a piece of paper that was in a puddle of water, beneath a bench. “It was one of the most surreal ... (click for more)

Both CCS Teams Win By 24 Points Over Boyd-Buchanan

Chattanooga Christian basketball coach Eddie Salter holds some really tough practices with his Chargers and he expects them to transfer that high-energy to game day. It seemed to work on Thursday night as Salter’s Chargers raced to a 21-5 lead after the first quarter and never looked back as they improved to 6-1 with the impressive 64-40 non-district win over visiting Boyd-Buchanan. ... (click for more)

Hamilton Heights Shines In Win Vs. Memphis East On ESPN2

Cousins Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander sparked Hamilton Heights’ strong second half Thursday night as the Hawks pulled away to beat Memphis East 72-64 in a prep basketball game televised by ESPN2. Walker, a Virginia Tech signee, led the Hawks with a game-high 23 points, including 16 in the second half when he made four 3-pointers. Alexander, a Kentucky ... (click for more)