Wheel tax referendum fell short on valid signatures in Hawkins County

A petition drive seeking a special election to consider repeal a recent $40-per-vehicle increase in the Hawkins County wheel tax fell 127 signatures short of the number required, according to the Rogersville Review. Indeed, county Election Administrator Donna Sharp says there were more invalid signatures than valid. Advocates needed 1,095 valid signatures.

Sharp wrote that when the verification of signatures on all 175 pages of petitions seeking a referendum was completed, the petition pages were found to bear a total of 2,231 signatures. Of that number, Sharp wrote, 968 signatures were verified as those of registered Hawkins County voters.

 But a total of 1,263 signatures were not approved during the verification process. Among the signatures not approved by Election Commission staff, 770 signatures were not those of registered voters and 493 signatures were not approved for other reasons.

Sharp said some to 493 signatures that were not counted were not approved because they did not appear to match the signatures on file in the Election Commission’s database of signatures of registered voters. Others were disallowed because the address listed on a petition form along with a signature was in a different voting precinct than that listed in Election Commission records for the registered voter who had signed the petition.

…Other signatures were not approved because the signer had signed on the back side of a petition form. To be accepted, she said, signatures had to be on the front side of the petition form beneath the petition language that called for a referendum to be held on the wheel-tax increase.

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