With his job on the line this coming year, you might think elections administrator Greg Mackay would keep his head down—instead of being a spokesman for a revolution in the manner of voting in Knox County.
He is rolling the dice by being proactive, proposing a pilot project to establish centralized voting sites that would be open for 20 straight days, the last day being the traditional Election Day. You could vote any time during the 20-day period at any of the centrally located sites. The idea will be tried out in Farragut and Knoxville elections this year, if their councils approve.
The elimination of the 92 current Election Day neighborhood precinct sites in a county-wide election and 52 polling sites in a city election will save money and solve staffing problems, but is bound to be controversial among some voters. But a majority of voters in recent elections have used early voting sites rather than wait until Election Day.
The Democrats have long controlled election commissions in all 95 counties by appointing three of five election commissioners. That has meant the Democrats have also hired the staff. With the Republicans taking over the General Assembly election commission, changes are expected, giving each county a 3-2 Republican majority.
Mackay is already popular with local media and if the new election system proves popular, it may be harder for the Republicans to replace him.