Directline: Reader wants to know process to downsize Commission

9:13 am | November 1, 2012

Question: What is the process to downsize the Carter County Commission? 

Answer: Carter County Elections Administrator Tracy Harris said a charter commission could propose a county charter to voters that includes that proposition.

She said specific state statutes govern how a charter commission is created, including how citizens can petition for that creation.

Members of the charter commission may be selected either by election or appointment, depending upon the language of the petition. The statute that permits calling for a commission requires the petition to be signed by a number of registered county voters equal to 10 percent of the total number of votes cast in the county in the preceding gubernatorial election.

In Carter County, Harris noted, that means 10 percent of 14,155 – the number of county residents who voted in the Nov. 2, 2010, election.

Harris said the number of additional signatures required, after purging names of non-registered voters, would depend on how the petition is circulated.

For example, if someone personally takes the petition around to ensure the people are registered voters, and no one lists their post office box instead of residence address; no one signs for another person; or if it’s placed at a convenience store for just “anyone” to sign, then there could be several duplicate signatures and people that aren’t registered, Harris said.

Submit questions to Direct Line, telephone 297-9066, or send an e-mail to directline@ Include your name and telephone number, for verification purposes, which will not be published. 

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