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Early voting begins July 15

PrintBy Brad Hicks

Early voting for the Aug. 4 state primary and county general elections will begin this Friday for Unicoi County’s registered voters.

Early voting will continue through Saturday, July 30.

Those wishing to participate in early voting will do so at the office of the Unicoi County Election Commission, located at 106 Nolichucky Ave. in Erwin. Early voting will be conducted at the office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until noon.

The office of Unicoi County Assessor of Property and several seats on the Unicoi County Board of Education will be decided in the county general election.

The race for Assessor of Property is unique in that no candidates will appear on the ballot and the office will be decided by a write-in vote.

Four candidates – John Day, Teresa Kinsler, Alan “Rocky” McInturff and Richard Seward – are vying for the office.

The race for assessor became a write-in only contest after the Unicoi County Republican Party Executive Committee on May 28 opted not to appoint a candidate for the Aug. 4 ballot.

The need to appoint a candidate for the August ballot was created after Margaret Seward, who died the morning of the March 1 primary and whose widower is seeking the office, won the race for assessor of property in the county primary. This created a vacancy that the Executive Committee could have filled had it opted to do so.

Wayne Peterson, another candidate on the primary ballot in the assessor’s race, died on Feb. 16. McInturff was the third candidate on the primary ballot.

Peterson was appointed by the Unicoi County Commission to serve as assessor of property in April 2015 following the retirement of previous assessor Patsy Bennett. Following his death, the Commission, in March, appointed Kinsler as the interim assessor of property.

Five candidates are seeking two seats to represent the county’s 2nd District on the Board of Education. Joining incumbents Tyler Engle and Lisa White in vying for these seats are Glenn E. Fisher, Shane O’Hare and Sue Jean Wilson.

Two candidates – Ruth H. Gaines and Steve Scott – are vying to represent the county’s 3rd District by filling an unexpired term on the board.

The unexpired term is the result of the November 2014 death of Dwight Bennett, who was elected to the Board of Education in August of that year.

Scott has served on the board previously, and Gaines was appointed to the school board in January 2015 by the Unicoi County Commission to fill the seat held by Bennett until the next general election.

Voters are reminded to bring a state or federally-issued photo ID in order to vote in person. An acceptable photo ID is required for early voting and for voting on Election Day.

Acceptable forms of ID, whether current or expired, include driver licenses, U.S. passports, Department of Safety photo ID cards, U.S. military photo IDs, and other state or federal government photo ID cards.

College student IDs are not acceptable.

For more information on early voting, contact the Unicoi County Election Commission at 743-6521.