Cliff Rodgers has overseen 24 elections in the nine years he’s been Knox County’s administrator of elections, which means that his years of 30-day early voting periods plus all those election days totals 744 high-stress days:
“It’s like two years of active combat duty,” he said. “I never thought I would do this for nine years.”
Rodgers told his board of commissioners Monday that he will retire May 30. He would like for them to appoint his assistant director, Chris Davis, to take the position.
Rodgers says he is satisfied that he’s not leaving any loose ends for his successor to contend with. The new paper ballot election system will be safely in place before the next Election Day, and Davis, who has worked with Rogers for seven years, is well-qualified to step into the job, he said.
Rodgers spent 23 years in federal court, where he served District Court Judge James Jarvis as a law clerk.
He explained more fully in a statement he read to his commissioners Monday:
“I will also be 67 this summer. Consequently, I can tell you today that I simply do not have the energy, the 24/7 focus, and the passion to deal with another highly polarized Presidential election. I’m tired of not having enough time for my family or, quite frankly, much of anything else. I’m tired of waking up at night in a cold sweat and in the mornings, all stressed out – and that was well before all of the coronavirus concerns.
“And don’t get me wrong, this job has been a real blessing and even at times a joy – I have met so many wonderful and dedicated citizens of this county who serve as underpaid election officials – folks that I would have never have otherwise met in my West Knoxville bubble. It has been an honor and privilege to serve the voters – truly – and the same holds true with my staff, my machine techs, and most certainly each of you. So, a sincere and heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to each of you for allowing me to serve for these nine years.”