Tennessee early voters given wrong ballot
NASHVILLE, Tennessee: On July 27, 2012 election officials called for closer scrutiny of a contest in the state's largest county after reports that more than 5 percent of voters have gotten the wrong ballot during early voting. Tennessee Election Coordinator Mark Goins said he has asked the state comptroller's office to do a performance audit of the vote in Shelby County after describing the situation as "a mess."
The state stepped in on the next to last day of early voting after voting database expert Joe Weinberg estimated more than 2,300 voters, or roughly 5 percent of voters in Shelby county, cast votes on the wrong ballot. Officials are saying that the mistakes are largely the result of redistricting and affect state legislative races. Voters who already cast incorrect early ballots will not be allowed to vote again, and officials are urging voters who think their ballot is wrong to tell a poll worker before casting their ballots.
In a letter from Goins and Secretary of State Tre Hargett to the comptroller requesting the audit, it was noted that the election problems in Shelby County have stretched back about a decade. In 2010, an election official loaded the wrong information into an electronic toll book, indicating that thousands of voters had cast ballots when they hadn't. Candidates in 2006 sued the county election commission, alleging that irregularities affected the outcome of a county general election and in a 2005 special election to fill a vacant seat, the election was voided because ballots were cast by ineligible felons and dead people.
Goins has stated that he wishes to get the matter corrected by August 2 primary and expects to have an "error free" general election in November.
- News: Washington Post, "Tennessee county scrambles after reports early voters got wrong ballot; state orders audit"
- News: Bradenton Herald, "Some voters get wrong early ballot in Tenn. county"
- Tennessee elections, 2012
- Tennessee State Senate elections, 2012
- Tennessee House of Representatives elections, 2012