Williamson County Holds Election For Two Voters

Posted at 7:05 PM, Dec 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-15 20:44:03-05

Five election workers opened up a polling location at Independence High School early this morning, prepared for a long day. The poll workers knew that in their eleven hour shift, they could expect zero voters.

"I've never had an experience quite like this in my 20 years of doing this," said Ann Burns. "This is one quiet gym."

The referendum election will determine whether nearly 700 acres of land will be annexed from Williamson County to Thompson's Station. The parcel of land is part of a controversial project that'd convert 2,000 acres of rural land to 1,500 homes and a golf course. The project is called Two Farms.

But a city statute says the only people eligible to cast a ballot are the people that own the land up for annexation. In this case, that's Gary and Portia Baker - who voted last week as part of early voting.

Still, election law says the county must administer an election.

"By law, we're required to hold an election if a municipality goes through the process and does it properly," said Williamson County Administrator of Elections Chad Gray. "The municipality is responsible for covering the cost of the election."

This election for two will cost Thompson City taxpayers $4,000.

It'll cost five election workers, including Ann Burns, a full day of sitting and waiting. The polling place she's working is required to stay open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

But Burns said it's all worth it.

"People died over the years, thousands and thousands, you know, for us to sit here," she said. "It's such an honor."

By law, Thompson Station city officials had the option to make all voters eligible to participate in the referendum vote. Gray said that likely would've driven the cost of the election up considerably.

Results from the two ballots will be released shortly after 7:00 p.m. Thursday.