Electoral Foul Play or Incompetence Alleged
MEMPHIS (CN) - Democratic candidates in Memphis claim that results of the recent Shelby County elections were inaccurate, with 5,000 voters turned away due to an electronic "glitch," in which votes from a previous election were uploaded, and voters were told they already had voted. They say that voting machines suffered other malfunctions, that voting sites were changed without proper notice, vote tallies were inaccurate and inconsistent, and that voters who voted for one candidate had their votes tallied for another.
Candidates Minerva Johnican and Regina Newman sued the Shelby County Election Commission, with co-plaintiff Lexie Carter, a voter. They want the Election Commission to hand over all the data gathered and equipment used during the elections for an independent review.
"A consistent pattern of widespread inconsistencies occur[red] at all twenty satellite locations throughout Shelby County," the complaint states.
According to the complaint, the Election Committee Chairman Bill Giannini acknowledged that an estimated 5,000 voters were turned away on Election Day.
Giannini "indicated on all major news stations that a 'glitch' occurred which involved the SCEC uploading a past election, either a 2008 or May 2010 (Primary) election, and this resulted in several voters being told that they had already voted," the lawsuit states. (Parentheses in complaint.)
Johnican lost her bid for Criminal Court Clerk by 4,924 votes, to Republican candidate Kevin Key.
Newman lost her bid for Shelby County Trustee by 4,548 votes, also to a Republican.
"There have been numerous recorded incidences where voters have voted for one candidate, but another candidate's name appeared," the complaint states.
The vote tallies taken by poll watchers also differed from the commission's tallies, the complaint states.
They claim that notice of new polling sites was inadequate - one voter being turned away from three sites - and that "there were several reports of nonpartisan candidates for elections having partisan identification next to their names" - including in judicial races.
According to the lawsuit, "After certification of the election, the information required to prove discrepancies and irregularities will be recorded and maintained in such a way that it will be untraceable, unretrievable, and cause irreparable injury to the plaintiffs, who would not have had the opportunity for an independent review."
They ask that the county election be declared null and void, and want a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction preventing the commission from tampering with data or equipment.
They are represented by Van Turner with Butler, Snow, O'Mara, Stevens & Cannada.