Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The TNDP Weighs In

August 11, 2010

    Primary Election Mishaps Undermine Voter Confidence In Tennessee

TNDP Header ImageNASHVILLE - Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester said recent election debacles in Memphis where a wrong voter file was initially used underscore either incompetence or an intention by Republicans to manipulate election results.

"Secretary of State Tre Hargett and his election coordinator Mark Goins have continued to show their willingness to manipulate vote counts to keep their party in power," Forrester said. "People across this state, regardless of their party affiliation, expect their votes to be counted correctly.

"Using wrong voter files, miscounting ballots and opening voter precincts late do not give too many of us confidence in the election process, which is the bedrock of our democracy. I appreciate Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons' request that the 
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation take a close look at what happened on Election Day in Memphis last week."

Republicans took control of local election commissions in all 95 counties after the November 2008 elections, firing many county election administrators soon thereafter. That prompted a federal lawsuit to be filed on behalf of several former county election administrators contending Republicans violated their constitutional rights by conspiring to treat their jobs as political patronage.

Forrester also pointed to actions of the Benton County Election Commission, which invalidated earlier this spring 2,100 voter registrations for various reasons, including a simple failure to check a box. The commission warned voters to correct their registrations by July 31 or they would be ineligible to vote in last week's primary.

"This kind of behavior is damaging our political process," Forrester said. "This is not a partisan issue. It is at the core of this country's foundation that we have fair and accurate elections and that we engage as many citizens in the process as we can.

"I don't see how disenfranchising legitimate voters betters our country, our state or our communities," he added. 

Contact: Keith Talley
TNDP Communications Director
615-327-9779 (office)

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