Election results will be certified Nov. 15

By Thomas Wilson
star staff
twilson@starhq.com

  Results of Tuesday's election will not be certified until Nov. 15, according to the Carter County elections office.
  County Administrator of Elections Tracy Harris said results of the city, county, state, and the Carter County Election Commission would certify federal elections on Nov. 15. The commission had scheduled the certification for Monday, Nov. 8. Election office workers confirm each vote cast in the election.
  Harris also confirmed her office has received a complaint about the behavior of a poll officer on Election Day regarding the presence of a citizen at precinct.
  Patty Tester, who also spoke with the Star, said she was present at the Siam precinct during the day. Tester's husband, L.C. Tester, ran for the 4th District seat to the Carter County Commission. Tester said she remained outside the voting boundary until after the polls closed at 8 p.m. She said she then entered the polling place after the polls had closed and sat down at an empty desk when a Paul Sellers, later identified as the precinct's election officer, approached her and asked her who she represented.
  Tester said she initially did not answer, but later responded she represented L.C. Tester as his wife. She said Sellers then asked her to leave the polling place.
  "He said 'you can't be here, you have to leave,'" Tester said.
  Tester said she called the election office and spoke to Harris who told her she had every right to be at the precinct as long as she was not campaigning within the 100-foot boundary.
  "I've done this before for other candidates," Tester said. "They told me he had no right to tell me to leave."
   While polls are open, state law prohibits persons from entering the polling place who are not election officials, voters, persons properly assisting voters, the press, poll watchers, or others bearing written authorization from a county election commission.
  State law allows candidates to enter polling places after polls close.
  Harris later told the Star that citizens have the legal right to be present at a polling place after polls closed provided they do not cause any disruption to precinct officials. She said her office accepted Tester's complaint and would pass it along to the election commission officers.
  The five-member election commission has the responsibility of appointing polling precinct officers such as Sellers for elections.
  Tuesday's election saw liquor-by-the-drink essentially legalized in Elizabethton after a ballot referendum passed 55 percent to 45 percent among city voters.
   The election also saw a minor shakeup on Elizabethton City Council.
   Incumbent Richard Sammons retained his council seat while Curt Alexander and Charles LaPorte won the two remaining at-large seats to the council. Incumbent Nancy Alsup lost her bid for a third consecutive council term.
  Alexander, who led all candidates with 2,800 votes, said on Wednesday he was overwhelmed by the support of voters.
  "I am just humbled by the number of votes I received," Alexander said. "I am looking forward to getting to work with Charles and Richard.
  "I think we are going to work together well."
  Alexander said he hopes to live up to the trust and confidence put in him by voters.
  "I can't say enough about the support we received - there were so many people who supported me in this venture," he said.
  The next council meeting is Thursday. The new council members will be sworn in during a ceremony on Nov. 16.