Campaign signs concern Hicks

By AUTUMN HUGHES

Posted 2/9/18

Campaign signs and financial disclosures by candidates were discussed at length during Thursday’s meeting of the Bradley County Election Commission.

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Campaign signs concern Hicks

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Campaign signs and financial disclosures by candidates were discussed at length during Thursday’s meeting of the Bradley County Election Commission.

Election Commissioner Dana Burgner said it has been brought to his attention that a constable candidate in the 6th District has campaign signs throughout the district, but has listed no dollar amount other than "zero" on his financial disclosure statement.

"You can't not spend money and have signs everywhere," Election Commissioner Duane Gilbert noted. "The rules apply to everybody."

Bradley County Administrator of Elections Fran Green said state law requires candidates to fill out the financial disclosure statement and confirmed the statement of the candidate in question only lists zero amounts. Green added candidates must appoint a political treasurer before they take or spend any money for their campaign.

Green said the county Election Commission can set a policy if there is a written complaint, and offer the candidate another financial disclosure statement form to fill out.

Election Commission Chairman Travis Henry said it is a good idea to look into complaints to see if they have any merit.

The Election Commission approved a motion to send a letter to a candidate if it receives a complaint or inquiry concerning a filed financial disclosure statement and give the candidate an opportunity to amend his or her statement, if needed.

Henry said the financial disclosure statement is signed under oath, and most candidates follow the election laws. He added that, as a courtesy, the Election Commission can look into it and ask the candidates if they need to amend their disclosure statement.

"That's probably the extent of what we can do … we've already given them notice of it," Henry said.

Burgner said maybe in the next election they need "to really emphasize" the issue.

Henry said because the issue has been raised he believes the Election Commission can send a letter to a candidate that concerns or complaints have been raised, and give them the opportunity to revise their financial disclosure statement. If the updated statement comes back unamended, then the complainant can follow up with the District Attorney General's Office.

Constable Dewayne Hicks, who is seeking re-election, attended the meeting and said he has seen another candidate’s campaign signs and T-shirts. Hicks also said he has seen some campaign signs that don't state who paid for them.

Burgner said he thinks the candidates should be notified about the signs that are missing the necessary information.

Hicks said he was not aware that all campaign signs must state who paid for them, adding he has previous election cycle signs for multiple other elected officials — including presiding judges — and some don't have that information.

The Election Commission’s next meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 26, at the Election Commission office.

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