Knox Election Commission Keeps Democratic Precinct Closed

From Georgiana Vines:
The Knox County Election Commission voted 3-2 along partisan lines today not to reopen Belle Morris Elementary School as a voting precinct in the Nov. 6 presidential election but agreed to meet with community leaders early in 2013 to determine what to do in the future.
Voting against a motion to reopen the school were Chairman Chris Heagerty, who broke a tie vote, Bob Bowman and Rob McNutt, all Republicans. Voting for the motion were Democrats Dennis Francis and Cassandra McGee Stuart.
The vote followed a contentious exchange between Bowman and former Knox County Commissioner Mark Harmon over events following a March meeting where the commission voted 4-0 to merge Belle Morris with the Larry Cox Senior Recreation Center.
Harmon presented a petition with 146 signatures calling for the Belle Morris to be reopened and reiterated disagreements with Cliff Rodgers, election administrator, on the Cox Center being more handicapped accessible and having better parking arrangements.
Harmon said the unstated reason for the closing was the strong Democratic vote at Belle Morris and that “bogus” reasons had been asserted.
Bowman said Harmon had made “bald accusations against Mr. Rodgers” and worked behind the scenes by organizing a press conferences and using the Internet to stir up a controversy instead of communicating directly with Rodgers or the commission.
Bowman was successful in getting the commission to agree to meet with community leaders at the first quarterly meeting of the commission next year to discuss the closing of Belle Morris. At one point during the meeting, he suggested Fulton High School might be an alternative choice.

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