A woman running for the city council in Clarksville, which is in Montgomery County, voted in an election seven months ago in Dickson County and this was long after she had already moved to Clarksville.
Local and state officials won’t say, at least not yet, if this woman’s actions violate the law.
That woman, Margaret Thompson, is running for the Clarksville City Council, Ward 4.
Thompson did not return The Tennessee Star’s repeated requests for comment this week.
Montgomery County Elections Administrator Elizabeth Black, city county records, said this week that Thompson first registered to vote in Montgomery County on June 17 of this year.
“She has provided us with a lease from December 2017, showing she lived where she currently lives for the past three years,” Black said.
But, Dickson County Election Administrator Roxanne Hagewood, city her own county records, said Thompson voted in Dickson County this calendar year.
“Thompson did vote in Dickson County in March 2020. She early voted on February 12, 2020 and was purged from voter files July 2, 2020 and registered in Montgomery County,” Hagewood said.
The Star asked Hagewood if the law permits Thompson to vote in Dickson County while she resides in Montgomery County.
“I didn’t know she had been living over there since 2017 because she was registered in Dickson County,” Hagewood said.
Was Thompson legally obligated to inform Dickson County officials that she no longer resided there when she voted?
“Yes, if she considered herself permanent in Montgomery County,” Hagewood said.
“If she was staying in Montgomery County with the intent of coming back to Dickson County then it’s a whole different story.”
Tennessee Secretary of State spokeswoman Julia Bruck said this week that members of the State Election Commission don’t have the power to act, assuming Thompson violated the law, at least not right now.
“At this point, even if the Election Commission determined that Ms. Thompson is not qualified to be on the ballot, since early voting is underway, the Commission could not remove her name from the office,” Bruck said in an email to The Star.
“If a court found that Ms. Thompson is not qualified to be on the ballot and ordered the Election Commission not to count votes cast for her, the Election Commission would comply with the order. For information regarding whether a criminal statute has been violated you would need to contact the district attorney for Montgomery County.”
Members of District Attorney General John W. Carney’s office in Clarksville did not return a request for comment this week.
Thompson, on her campaign’s Facebook page, said she wants to stop urban sprawl.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Margaret Thompson” by Thompson for Ward 4. Background Photo “Clarksville, Tennessee” by Jugarum. CC BY-SA 3.0.