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Panel certifies Warmath recall petition

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By PATRICK HALL, The Wilson Post
A petition submitted by Beulah Garrett to recall Ward 6 Lebanon City Councilor Kathy Warmath was certified by the Wilson County Election Commission on Monday afternoon in a special meeting.

On first attempt the petition was rejected because Garrett had submitted the paperwork with the wrong Tennessee Code Annotated law referenced in the text. Garrett resubmitted the petition with corrections and it was unanimously certified.

The Election Commission will certify the form, not the content, said Phillip Warren, administrator of elections.

Warmath was present at the meeting and was unhappy with the fact that Garrett needs to only obtain 2,186 signatures to have a recall election placed on the ballot in August 2012.

Warren explained that according to TCA 2-5-151, the petition must be signed by 15 percent of the registered voters in Lebanon at the time of the petitions certification. Monday afternoon he pointed out there were 14,571 registered voters in the city and 2,186 is 15 percent of that number.

The number goes down every time I come here, Warmath said during the meeting.

Garrett has 75 days to get signatures for the petition and at that point in time, must return it to the Election Commission to certify all the signatures. Warren said they have to make sure all signers are registered voters in Lebanon and verify their addresses. The commission has 30 days to certify those details.

Its a complicated process, and it should be, Warren said.

He explained that anyone who signs the petition but chooses to remove their name will have eight days after the signatures are turned in to have it removed. The whole process could take up to 105 days.

While the petition may be signed by any registered voter in Lebanon, if placed on the ballot only voters in Ward 6 will be able to vote on whether to recall Warmath. She indicated displeasure with the fact that voters not living in her ward could force a recall election.

It looks like an at-large recall, Warmath said. I had more votes than that in my ward, she added, referring to the previous election.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at phall@wilsonpost.com.

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