Subject to approval by municipal legislative bodies and election commissioners, the Knox County Election Commission will implement a Convenience Voting pilot program for the 2009 city elections. Convenience Voting will be used for the Farragut election on April 7th and the two City of Knoxville elections on September 22nd and November 3rd.
What is convenience voting? It's just like early voting, except it extends through election day. There would no longer be polling places in each precinct, although wards and precincts would still exist, voters would still be assigned to them, and their votes counted by precinct. Instead, there would be multiple voting centers where anyone from any precinct can vote, just like early voting.
Knox County Administrator of Elections Greg Mackay notes that the Election Commission must currently staff 92 polling places county wide for general elections and 52 for City elections. According to Greg, "It is a challenge to find this many election day officers who know about provisional voters, change of address laws, failsafe procedure, and all the rules and regulations needed to run an election. The voters and the public would be better served by having fewer, better trained and more knowledgeable workers at the Voting Centers."
Convenience Voting could also reduce the potential for fraud, making it more difficult for someone to attempt to vote in multiple precincts.
Sate law authorized the pilot program for Knox County earlier this year. Anderson and Loundon counties were also included in a study by the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy, which is helping develop the plan. There is funding from the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Make Voting Work initiative.
More information is available at the Knox County Election Commission website:
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