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: ADAMS, BARRY MALONE  207 SPEARS AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37405  Age at Arrest: 34 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- AUSTIN, VICTOR JAMES  226 COUNTY ROAD 806 WHITEROCK, 35966  Age at Arrest: 26 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton ... (click for more)

Woodmore Elementary On Half-Day Schedule Tuesday

Due to the air conditioning unit being down, Woodmore Elementary School will operate on a half-day schedule, Tuesday.  Parents have been notified by the principal through a BlackboardConnect message.  Buses will run the morning routes as normal but school will dismiss at 12:30 p.m.  Buses will run at 12:30 p.m.  Car riders and walkers will also be dismissed ... (click for more)

Sheriff Hammond Is Right On The Muslim Threat

Sheriff Hammond is exactly correct on the Muslims in Tennessee.  He sees with clear eyes the problem with the Muslims in our state and country.  They do want to take over Tennessee.  Our politicians are selling us down the river and allowing the trouble makers to dig in like tics and suck out the life's blood of our Constitution and take us over.  They ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My September Garden

As we begin the annual pilgrimage into fall, I walk through my garden and, in the spirit of Orchids and Onions, I see colorful mums starting to flower at the same time dried-up weeds are begging to be pulled. So as we turn the calendar to September, here are some things that catch my eye: A COLORFUL MUM to Chattanooga State for unveiling the Michael Hennen Hospitality Center in ... (click for more)

Jumper, Ex-Baylor Star, To Start For Vols Against Bowling Green

When 25 th -ranked Tennessee plays Bowling Green on Saturday afternoon at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, former Baylor School standout Colton Jumper will be the Vols’ starting middle linebacker. The 6-foot-2-inch, 227-pound Jumper played at Baylor for coach Phil Massey and recorded 251 tackles, 39 tackles for loss, 22 sacks, two interceptions, caused five fumbles, recovered two ... (click for more)

County Schools Waiting On Report On Condition Of East Ridge High Stands

County school officials are awaiting a report from city of East Ridge inspectors on the condition of the concrete football stands at East Ridge High School. Lee McDade, assistant supt., said maintenance of the stands is up to the county schools. The concrete stands are currently roped off. The concrete complex includes a lower area with coaches' offices and player dressing ... (click for more)