Tennessee State Attorney General Robert Cooper has given an opinion on whether and under what circumstances local county election commissions can replace local county election administrators.
Opinion 09-52 is here.
This goes back to the 2008 legislative races. Republicans finally became the majority party in the state legislature (House and Senate combined).
The legislative majority party gets to name the majority of members to each county election commission.
In Hamblen County there is a 5-person election commission. Because the Democrats have held a majority of seats in the state legislature for years and years, the local election commission has been comprised of 3 Democrat election commissioners and 2 Republican election commissioners.
With a new Republican majority in the state legislature, the local split will soon be 3 Republican election commissioners and 2 Democrat election commissioners.
In fact, Joe Swann, who was just elected to the Hamblen County Commission in 2006, recently stated that he will resign his seat as a county commissioner in order to accept appointment as the 3rd Republican on the local election commission. [The Tribune story is here but it will be gone before you know it.] Swann is quoted as saying: "This is what I've always wanted."
Election commissioners in each county will be reading the Attorney General's opinion carefully to determine if and/or how to legally make a change in appointment of each local election administrator, a plum high-paying position.
Hamblen County's long-time election administrator is Wanda Neal.