Clerical error leaves one candidate off the ballot list - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Clerical error leaves one candidate off the ballot list

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It's election year; every vote and every name counts. A republican from McMinn County is challenging Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, wanting to represent the people of the third district. But his name was left off the candidates list until now. Geoffery Smith says he did everything right to qualify before the deadline.

Geoffery Smith's name is now officially on the ballot in the race for Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District. A clerical error is being blamed for the Athens native's name being left of the first list of candidates. “When press releases are sent from the Secretary of State to Times Free Press, The Oak Ridger, and other media over the area, they have people running for office listed, and my name wasn't on it,” said Smith.

When he contacted the Secretary of State's office about the issue he received a voicemail saying the state never received his petition from the Republican Party of Tennessee. “Until we can get one from the party that you in fact filed with them we are not able to put you on the ballot,” a voicemail from Mark Goins said.

Smith provided the office with proof of the signed paperwork and a few minutes later Laura Bonds with the Division of Elections called to say, “they were able to find it and it was filed incorrectly with the certifications of the county.”

Channel 3 reached out to the Republican Party about the mistake. Political director Walker Ferrell did not say how the mistake happened; they only said "we spoke by phone and confirmed Mr. Smith's republican qualifications were never in question and he is an official candidate in Tennessee’s 3rd District."

A spokesman for the Secretary of State's Office confirmed the error won't impact the August ballot, saying, "Mr. Smith is qualified to run in the Republican Primary and he is an official candidate for Tennessee’s 3rd district."

Smith said being left off the first candidate list published is already impacting his campaign.

“Now I am down funding, a lot of people haven't seen my website, and not considering me a real candidate,” Smith says.

The original candidate list was published last Friday. Geoffery Smith's name was added and the error corrected on Tuesday. The secretary of State's office will now work to verify the signatures of every candidate’s petitions to further confirm them as candidates for the August election.

Tennessee's State Primary is Thursday, August 4th. Those who hold the US congressional seat serve for two years.  Democrat Melody Shekari is also running, Topher Kersting, Cassandra Mitchell, and Rick Tyler are running as independents.

Channel 3 is covering all angles of the Tennessee and Georgia primaries from now until August.

Stay with us on air and online for updates on Decision 2016.

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