The Frankford Town Council held a hearing last Thursday, Jan. 16, regarding would-be town council candidate Greg Welch’s voter registration status — again coming to the conclusion that the Frankford resident has not gone through the proper steps to register to vote in the Feb. 1 election, which also makes him ineligible to run for council.
“I did register to vote several times, and they’ve always rejected it, and they haven’t done it by legal means,” Welch claimed.
Welch, who was denied registration in 2001 over residency discrepancies, remains convinced that the council is in the wrong and did not attend the meeting, citing that the council did not advertise the meeting legally.
“This year, I knew it was going to be an issue again, but I thought it would be handled differently,” he said regarding the ongoing matter. “They said I couldn’t be a candidate because I refuse to register. I’ve got the documentation from the state commissioner’s office.”
Welch has taken the matter to the state level, but Town Clerk Terry Truitt maintains that all Welch has to do is re-register. She said his registration in 2000 was denied because he was not yet a full-time resident of Frankford.
“The Town does not want to deny anybody the right to vote, but you have to do it just like everybody else,” said Truitt.
Truitt went on to explain that, when Welch registered to vote back in 2000, he was still a resident of Clarksville but owned a home in Frankford that he was renovating — citing that the Town had sent him a letter via certified mail that he signed for at another residence.
“The election card form says that you must be a resident, but they were renovating the property and not living there,” she clarified. “It went all the way to the Governor’s Office, and they agreed it did not meet the qualifications of residency.”
Truitt went on to further explain that, while Welch does indeed reside in Frankford now, he still needs to re-register to vote.
“I don’t make these rules, but I have to adhere to these rules,” she maintained. “The Town wants to move forward productively. Here it is 11 years later, and we’re still on the same issue. I’ve got more things I would rather use the Town’s time and money on.”
While the council continues to hold to their stance, Welch isn’t giving up on the matter.
“I have the ability to appeal it to the state election commissioner. Once I get the written statement I can appeal,” he said.
As of Jan. 15, Welch had been removed from the town’s official list of candidates in the 2014 town council election. The Jan. 31 issue of the Coastal Point will feature our traditional Q&A with the candidates.