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Fri, Dec 19, 2014

High voter registration, turnout low in municipal elections

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Murfreesboro added almost 5,000 voters to its rolls in the run-up to the April 15 municipal election, but only three-quarters of eligible adults are registered in the city.

Since the beginning of the year, Murfreesboro added 4,835 registered voters, totaling 53,922 registered in the city, explained Hooper Penuel, elections administrator.

But, Murfreesboro has more than 70,000 adults eligible to register to vote.

Also turnout for local elections is low with only 6,267 of 48,672 registered voters or about 12 percent showing up to the polls in the last municipal election held in April 2006.

The 2004 municipal election saw similar turnout with 12 percent of 40,405 registered voters showing up.

The last day to register to vote in the municipal election was Monday, but voters who have moved within the county can change their address at early voting sites or by sending a change of address in writing no later than April 10 to the Rutherford County Election Commission Office, 1 Public Square South, Room 103, Murfreesboro, Tenn.

In the election, three Murfreesboro City Council at-large seats and four Murfreesboro City School Board at-large seats are open.

Also early voting begins Wednesday, March 26 and continues to April 10.

Early voting is available from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays at SportsCom, 2310 Memorial Boulevard; Election Commission Annex, 426 East Vine Street; and Agricultural Center inside Old Fort Park, 1026 Golf Lane; and at the Election Commission Office, No. 1 Public Square South, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays.

For a sample ballot, visit www.rutherfordcountytn.gov/election/pdfs/041508_sample.pdf

Incumbents Vice Mayor Chris Bratcher and Councilmen Toby Gilley and Ron Washington, as well as challengers Dave Beardsley, Eddie Smotherman and Jeff Weems are fighting for the at-large city council seats.

Incumbents Susan Andrews, Patrick McCarthy and Nancy Phillips are running to retain their at-large positions against a crowded field of challengers for four positions on the Murfreesboro City School Board.

Walter Hill Principal Butch Campbell, Oakland High School Attendance Scheduler Claudia Hunter, Oakland High School Assistant Principal Tim Roediger, MTSU Education Professor Kathy Burris, education consultant Nancy Duggin and nonprofit founder Andrew Jacks all want to serve on the city school board.

All the candidates participated in a Candidate Forum Tuesday, March 11, which can be seen on Murfreesboro Channel 3.

Michelle Willard can be contacted at 869-0816 or mwillard@murfreesboropost.com.
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