Morning Coffee – Election Investigation Edition

Looks like we’re going to have a full on investigation into what happened on election day in Shelby County.

Shelby County DA Bill Gibbons asked the TBI to look into “criminal” violations. Congressman Steve Cohen has also sent a letter to the USDOJ to ask for an investigation of the issue. Last night, over 200 people gathered at the IBEW hall in Midtown Memphis to sign affidavits about “voting irregularities”. Despite assertions from the Shelby County Election Commission that voters were not turned away, there have been plenty of reports of people being turned away at the polls or threatened of voter fraud charges.

That ain’t cool.

From my perspective, it’s better to err on the side of caution. If a registered voter shows up on election day, chances are they didn’t take time out of their day to vote twice. Just give them a provisional ballot, and if they did vote twice, deal with the legal issues on the back end. Turning people away at the polls gives the impression that there’s something unseemly happening, not only to the person affected, but also to the other folks in the line.

Further complicating the issue is the fact that the Election Commission came up with a wholly different process for people affected later in the day. I understand the desire to give the impression that “it’s been fixed”, but once the election starts, the rules shouldn’t change mid-way through. That actually makes the problem worse. By trying to “fix” it, there’s an impression of a cover up.

The Election Commission keeps pointing to the 210 provisional ballots cast as an indication of how small the problem is. But they don’t talk about all the people that cast “fail safe” ballots (like Bill Gibbons) on the paperless machines after the problem was realized.

Nope, a situation like this DEMANDS a paper trail. If they didn’t have enough provisionals, then that’s another planning problem. A little extra paper costs a whole lot less than the cost to voter confidence, or a new election.

It may be months before we find out what really happened and how many people were effected. In the mean time, if you experienced problems at the polls, please let someone know by coming to this meeting at AFSCME Union Hall, MLK Center, SE corner of Danny Thomas and Beale Street on Friday at 3pm.

Ok, on to the Coffee!!!

Don’t piss off Phil.

The debate on Gubernatorial debates is on. McWherter has agreed to as many as 15, Haslam says three is enough. Why is Haslam scared of going head to head with McWherter?

In Shelby County, the Metro Charter has been filed with the proper authorities, now comes the conversation, the campaign, and ultimately the vote.

Smart City thinks, we’re a lot more together than we know.

Jackson Baker takes a final look back at the election.

And Reginald Milton thinks the criticism of Van Turner has been a bit overblown.

Ok, have a great day!

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