On the Whalum Decision…lots of questions

Ed. Note:Corrected issue of appointment to fill Reginald Porter’s seat.

Kenneth Whalum
Kenneth Whalum
The morning’s announcement of a decision in the contested election results of School Board Dist. 4 brings up a lot of issues just weeks before the School Board is set to shift from 23 members to 7.

The first issue is the now upcoming election. When will it be and what assurances will be made that the same problems will not mar the upcoming election?

Despite the assurances that the November election would be trouble free, a report from February showed that more than 400 voters in one precinct received the wrong ballot in one precinct that either mistakenly had, or didn’t have the City’s gas tax referendum.

But the upcoming election may not be the biggest fish to fry, or knot to untangle, and the questions could come before Judge Mays to decide.

The first question: Who, if anyone, will occupy the seat after the school board contracts to seven districts on September 1st. Judge Mays has already determined that one seat could be left vacant until next year…the seat formerly held by Reginald Porter. Updated:The County Commission is set to appoint someone to fill the seat of Reginald Porter on September 9th…assuming it doesn’t get delayed. Will the Judge change course and allow an election on that seat at the same time? If the election is held in conjunction with the City sales tax referendum on Pre-K funding, ganging up those two seats might not be a bad idea, and would save some money for sure.

The second question, and perhaps more thorny, is that of decisions made by the school board since the certification of the August 2012 election. As Leftwingcracker points out, many of the decisions were narrow, by one vote. Will those decisions stand now that the election has been deemed irrevocably damaged or will the Judge call them into question? That’s a knot that could take a long while to deal with.

I would be surprised if Whalum didn’t ask Judge Mays to rule on these issues. Upon hearing the ruling from Chancellor Kenny Armstrong, that was the first thing I thought he would do. That’s what I would have done.

But the biggest question, one that goes well beyond the scope of the School Board, is who in the world can trust this Election Commission to do their job at this point. Between the August 2012 election that gave wrong ballots to thousands of voters and the November 2012 election that did the same to 400 voters in one precinct alone (mentioned above), who in their right mind actually thinks this Election Commission, and more importantly, this Election Administrator can do the job and conduct an election free of these kinds of completely avoidable errors.

There’s no question the Republican Shelby County Election Commissioners won’t have the guts to do what their counterparts in Nashville did just a few months ago. If anything, the local Republican Election Commissioners have doubled down in their support of Richard Holden, who they continue to allow to spread mistruths about the how and why of the problems in the August 2012 election, even after being rebuked by the Secretary of State’s office and a Comptroller’s report.

The next couple of days should be interesting. Between the school and election issues, I can’t help but believe we haven’t heard the end of this issue…and the issues surrounding it.

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