Proposed Ordinance Requires Absentee Voting for City Property Rights Voters in November Referendum

August 21, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Aldermen Monday night adopted an ordinance on first reading to keep city property rights voters from possibly having to go to two places to vote in November with the city liquor referendum on the ballot along with the Tennessee General and Presidential elections. Under the ordinance, city property rights voters could only vote by absentee ballot in the city referendum. They would still be free to vote in person at their own precinct or during early voting at the courthouse for President, State Representative, Congressman, and for U.S. Senator.

Second and final reading passage will follow a public hearing at a special meeting of the Mayor and Aldermen on Monday, August 27 at 5:00 p.m. at city hall. If adopted on second reading, the ordinance would only apply to property rights voters participating in the November 2012 election and they would be notified by the election commission. This ordinance would not apply to any future city elections.

"This is going to make it easier for everybody, especially the voters and hopefully increase turnout," said Alderman Shawn Jacobs.

Voters county wide, at all sixteen precincts, will be casting ballots for candidates in the Presidential election along with U.S. Senate, Congressional, and State Representative races in November. But in the City of Smithville, which includes the Courthouse, Middle School, County Complex, and Church of Christ Annex precincts, city voters will also be voting in a referendum on
whether to allow liquor stores in the City of Smithville. Only voters residing inside the city limits and property rights voters, who own property in the city but who live outside the city in DeKalb County and are qualified to vote, will be allowed to cast ballots in this referendum.

Without this ordinance, approximately 160 property rights voters would likely have to go to two places to vote on election day in November. They would vote at their regular precinct by machine in the county-wide election, and then would have to come to one of the four precincts in Smithville to vote just in the referendum. That referendum vote will likely be on a paper ballot. This process will only apply to property rights voters, those who live outside the city in DeKalb County but who have property inside the city and are qualified to vote in a city election.

Without this ordinance, If city property rights voters choose to cast ballots during early voting, they will likely have to come to the courthouse and vote in the county-wide election by machine and then go through the line again to vote by paper ballot just in the city referendum. Again, this process will only apply to property rights voters, those who live outside the city in DeKalb County but who have property inside the city and are qualified to vote in a city election.

The ordinance states, "Whereas, the City of Smithville allows individuals who are non-resident property owners the right to vote in City elections; and

Whereas, T.C.A. 2-6-205, establishes a procedure permitting those non-resident property owners to vote by absentee ballot if an ordinance is passed within the requirements set out in said statute:

Now, Therefore, be it ordained by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, that

Section 1. By passing this ordinance it does hereby require that those non-resident property owners for the referendum which is on the ballot for the November 6, 2012 ballot shall be required to vote absentee for said referendum.

Section 2. This ordinance shall be effective only for the November 6, 2012 ballot for the City of Smithville.

Section 3. The DeKalb County Election Commission shall notify the non-resident property owners as set out in T.C.A. 2-6-205 of the requirements of this ordinance.

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