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Election commission talks budget, local campaign advertisements

Election commission talks budget, local campaign advertisements
The Weakley County Election Commission met Monday afternoon to review budget transfers and to address issues with campaign advertisements that do not meet Tennessee election code.
Election Commission Chairman Wayne Chester called the meeting to order at the Election Commission Office in Dresden at 3 p.m. on Monday, June 21. Administrator of Elections Barbara Castleman asked to begin the meeting by reviewing the Election Commissions budget transfers.
Castleman proposed requesting the Weakley County Finance, Ways & Means Committee for $1,000 dollars to go towards data processing services and $1,000 dollars for printing costs. The budget transfer request also asked to decrease the approved budget for Election Commission deputies by $2,000.
The motion for election commission budget transfers carried unanimously.
Castleman also proposed an explanation for changes and increases in the 2010-2011 Election Commission budget. Among these changes, Castleman wants to hire two more full-time deputies – increasing the deputies budget to $45,500 – and also a stated budget of $38,000 for election workers needed for voting machine technicians.
Castleman states that the Election Commission budget for 2010-2011 after the changes will be $237,128. She also noted that for the election workers’ fund a higher amount was requested and she was told to decrease it by county authorities.
Chester commented that the Election Commission could use more from the finance department.
“They do have the authority in their legal realm to justify making any decision they want to make on this,” Chester said. “My point is we’re not asking for money to spend on vacation here. We need money in order to do a job. It becomes imperative as far as I’m concerned that we obtain the money when we ask for it in a professional way to do a job that needs to be done in a professional manner.”
After reviewing all transfers and changes, a motion was then put forward to approve final budget requests. A motion to approve the budget as stated was put forward.
All agreed to carry the motion with the exception of Election Commission Secretary, Elizabeth Dinwiddie.
The Election Commission next addressed an issue with campaign advertisements.
“There have been some complaints made to me that several candidates for this election have campaign signs that do not conform to the requirements of the code,” said Election Commission member Beau Pemberton.
“Specifically, [the advertisements] do not show who they are paid for by.”
Pemberton added that not including who pays for campaign advertisements conflicts with Tennessee Code Annotated 2-19-120, which says all campaign advertisements and communications must state who paid for the advertisement.
Line 2 under the section for political communications and advertisements states:
“Such communication, including any solicitation, if authorized by a candidate, an authorized committee of a candidate or an agent thereof, but paid for by any other person, shall clearly state that the communication is paid for by such other person and is authorized by such candidate, authorized committee or agent.”
Pemberton then advised a motion be passed for the commission to send a formed later for all local, county and state candidates informing them that some campaign advertisements may not conform to the Tennessee Code.
The letter will remind candidates that all communications and advertisements must state who their advertisement was paid for by.
“It’s just a reminder at this point that they need to get this problem addressed,” Pemberton said.
“They can get a sticker that says paid for by whoever, or a stamp … I don’t care how you fix it, just fix it.”
Pemberton then moved for the Election Commission to direct Administrator Castleman to issue notification to all contested election participants about the issue with campaign advertisements.
The motion was passed unanimously and after receiving notification from the Election Commission, candidates will have 10 days to alter campaign advertisements to conform to the Tennessee Code.
Castleman then put forward a motion adding Ronald Legens – who desires to run for District Constable for Election District 8 – as a write-in candidate.
The motion was passed unanimously.
Lastly, the Election Commission unanimously passed a motion allowing city elections to be held in Dresden, Martin, Greenfield and Sharon.
Elections for State Primaries will be on August 5; the last day to register to vote in the August election is July 6 and early voting begins on July 16.
WCP 6.24.10

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