Election Ballot Addition May Cost Taxpayers

Insiders think it is a good bet that a judge will order Elaine Davis' name be added to the ballot as a candidate for Knox County Commission—but if it doesn't happen soon it could cost taxpayers some money. At issue is the 25th name on the petition she submitted, a petition that requires 25 names from voters who live in the district. One of her names had a voter who listed her work address when she registered to vote, but she does live in the district.

If Davis is added by a decision in the next couple of weeks, the election commission will need to send out an amended absentee ballot to those who have requested them. Early voting starts April 14 for the May 4 primary and the machines have to be set up ahead of time, usually the first week of April. If the decision comes after that point, all the machine ballots will have to be scrapped and the machines reset. This could cost between $10,000 and $20,000.

Davis had her petition challenged when she turned it in, because some signers had used middle names instead of the full name on voter rolls. When this was straightened out, she was one name short of having the 25 required, thus the decision on the out-of-district registration was required. But election administrators cannot rule a candidate on or off the ballot, thus the need for a decision from a judge.

Davis is attempting to run as a Republican in the 4th District. Republican Jeff Ownby is also running, as is incumbent Democrat Finbarr Saunders. The district is centered in Bearden.