Election Officials Expect ‘Very Low’ Turnout for the Sept. 15 District 8 City Council Runoff

Left: Community activist Marie Mott has been endorsed by her former opponent Malarie Marsh in the City Council District 8 runoff Sept. 15. Marsh finished third in the Aug. 4 general election. Right: Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly has endorsed incumbent Marvene Noel in the City Council District 8 runoff race on Sept. 15.

By Camm Ashford 

Officials are predicting that only a small percentage of registered voters will participate in Chattanooga’s District 8 City Council runoff election on Sept. 15.

“We expect a very low turnout,” Kristi Berry, chief deputy with the Hamilton County Election Commission, told the Chattanooga News Chronicle in a phone interview. “Maybe about 3 percent.”

There were 1,324 votes cast out of 8,193 eligible voters (around 16%) in the District 8 contest on Aug. 4 to fill out the remainder of the term of former Councilman Anthony Byrd, who in February resigned his post on the nine-member council to become Chattanooga’s new City Court clerk.

City Council voted 7-1 to have a runoff, if necessary, in the District 8 race. 

Community activist Marie Mott was the top vote-getter in the three-person race Aug. 4, but did not get over 50 percent of the vote. She is in the runoff along with Marvene Noel, who was appointed by the council as the interim.

Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly has endorsed Noel. Malarie Marsh, who finished third in the primary race, has endorsed Mott. 

The Election Commission’s Berry estimated the cost of putting on the Sept. 15 runoff at “between $75,000 to $100,000.” 

She said the estimate includes charges for early voting, staffing, ballots, truck rentals and supplies. The cost of the special election will be borne by the city of Chattanooga.

Early voting for the District 8 runoff race will take place at the Hamilton County Election Commission, 700 River Terminal Rd., until Sept. 10. 

On Sept. 15, polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at: Alton Park-Bethlehem Center, 200 W. 38th St.; Avondale-Avondale Community Center, 1305 Dodson Ave.; Bushtown-Carver Community Center, 600 N. Orchard Knob Ave.; Courthouse-Olivet Baptist Church (Kingdom Center), 730 E. MLK Blvd.;

Downtown-Dogwood Manor Community Room, 959 Gateway Ave.; East Chattanooga-East Chattanooga Community Center, 2409 Dodson Ave.; East Lake-East Lake Senior Center, 3208 E. 15th Ave. and Eastside/Ridgeside-Clear Story Arts (Gallery Room), 1673 S. Holtzclaw Ave.

You must be a registered voter whose residence is in City Council District 8 to vote in this race.You can check if you are eligible to vote on the Election Commission’s website at https://hcvoter.hamiltontn.gov/voterrequest/voterinfoRequest.aspx. You can also call the Election Commission at 423-209-8683 (VOTE) between 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on weekdays.