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.



Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BARNACK, DENNIS J  HOMELESS CHATTANOOGA, 374116001  Age at Arrest: 44 years old Arresting Agency: Chatt. Housing Authority CRIMINAL TRESPASSING EVADING ARREST --- BELL, JACOLBRE DARLINE  3709 CARL WHITE PL CHATTANOOGA, 37410  Age at Arrest: 23 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Police Blotter: Thief With Stolen Chinese Dinner Yells Apology As Employees Give Chase; Musician Has $10,000 Violin Stolen

An employee of the Buffet King, 5230 Highway 153 Suite C., said a white male entered the restaurant and had asked for a to-go box. He filled the box at the buffet before exiting the store passing all points of sale without offering payment. Employees ran after the suspect who yelled an apology before entering a red sedan and fleeing the scene. * ** At theTexas Roadhouse on ... (click for more)

Brown V. Board (1954) 64 Years Late: Our Schools At A Crossroads

May 17, 1954 is a date forever etched upon the annals of American history because on that pivotal day the Supreme Court would affirm in the decision of Brown v. Board (1954). “We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” This ruling overturned the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Words For The Ages

I was probably one of few people in the entire world who didn’t get caught up in the Royal Marriage of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry this weekend. I got over having any semblance of ‘pomp and circumstance’ a long time ago and, as a rule, studiously avoid those apt to ‘put on airs and graces.’ By ignoring the magnificent occasion, I made a big mistake and today it is with delight ... (click for more)

Six Chattanooga Baseball, Softball Teams Open State Play This Week

The state tournament matchups in baseball and softball have been announced. Only thing left is for the fortunate teams that have reached the 2018 TSSAA Spring Fling in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to make a final push toward possible championships, the most prized trophies in high school sports. While only two local baseball teams -- Baylor and McCallie -- are ... (click for more)

Lookouts Fall (3-2) In 10th Inning Walk-Offs By Biloxi Saturday & Sunday

The Biloxi Shuckers (26-17) grabbed their second walk-off victory of the season in extra innings on Saturday night against the Chattanooga Lookouts (28-15) with a 3-2 win. The Lookouts have a 3 1/2 game lead over second-place Jackson in the North Division, while Biloxi has a 3 1/2 game lead over Mobile in the South Divisioon The Shuckers scored two runs to counter Chattanooga's ... (click for more)