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Why 9 a.m.?

Posted Tuesday, November 4, 2008, at 10:11 AM

I got a call a few minutes ago from a local businessman wanting to know why polls here open at 9 a.m. when in some other places, including Nashville and its surrounding counties, they open at 7 a.m.

The reason I've been given in the past -- and it comes up every election cycle -- is that operating from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., plus setup and takedown time, would mean hiring an extra shift of poll workers countywide, which would add considerably to the cost of the election (plus the difficulty of finding enough workers).

I haven't spoken to anyone about the issue this time around but I assume the rationale still applies.

It's all a matter of trade-offs. If you believe that the added participation which might result from an earlier start time is worth the cost, you should let county officials know. If, on the other hand, you think that the current system is satisfactory, you should let them know that too.


Comments
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Lincoln County opens at 9 a.m. Coffee and Marshall are both 7 a.m.; I don't know what Moore is.

-- Posted by Jicarney on Wed, Nov 5, 2008, at 9:14 AM

Can all the counties find the funds and the help to open the polls at 7am except Bedford County? You would think that all the election workers through out the state would make the same salary for working the election.

I haven't seen another county in Tennessee advertise the polls opening at 9 am except Bedford County.

-- Posted by cordell on Wed, Nov 5, 2008, at 5:22 AM

I agree with ontheoutside, everyone should be able to work out a time to go vote with the hours that are currently in place for election day and the early voting period that is offered.

-- Posted by onenamil on Tue, Nov 4, 2008, at 4:09 PM

With early voting in place and the hours of operation available, no one has an excuse not to vote. Why spend the extra money for additional people to work election day when the very ones who complain may or may not show up. After all, they've already had plenty of time to arrange their obviously busy schedule. If you don't have time in a 3 week period to early vote, you know there could not possibly be time for election day voting.

-- Posted by ontheoutside on Tue, Nov 4, 2008, at 1:19 PM

Bedford County is aware just like all other counties of what it takes to get up and running on election day, they also know what the cost and how many volunteers needed. Some how this does not seem like a good excuse for opening late. I do hope it is not an excuse to keep hard working peole from the polls. Every person has a right to vote no matter who they are voting for.

-- Posted by wonderer on Tue, Nov 4, 2008, at 10:43 AM

they need to pay extra people to man the polls.

Our tax payers have a hard time gettting to the polls from or to work at these odd hours.,

-- Posted by 4fabfelines on Tue, Nov 4, 2008, at 10:37 AM

You are right John. Keeping the polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in our county would require additional workers at additional cost. I know the election commission has difficulty in finding enough workers to man the polls on election day, and the extended hours would only make this situation harder.

-- Posted by volfanatic on Tue, Nov 4, 2008, at 10:33 AM


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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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