Last night the Shelby County Election Commission met for their monthly meeting. Of course, there was a lot to discuss. In particular, the current election and challenges voters throughout Shelby County have been having receiving the correct ballots.
The meeting itself wasn’t all that interesting…aside from a reported employee dispute that led to said employee gathering their things and walking out of the meeting. I had no idea it was ok to do that! Who knew?
Other than that, the meeting was rather dry, as these things often are by design. It’s hard to maintain the wherewithal to question things when you’ve been lulled into a stupor by slow moving meetings. It’s an endurance test…sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, often its a draw.
So here’s a report on the meeting, the resolutions to issues and the issues that still lack resolution. I’m going to try and keep this short, but, well, you know me.
What We Know Right Now
1. Elections are ongoing and there have been multiple issues with people receiving incorrect ballots. The Election Commission asserts these issues have been resolved and there should be no more. We’ll see.
2. The TN Secretary of State’s office is sending auditors to check the voter file for mistakes. This is happening today, though I have no idea when the results of the audits will be available.
3. The minutes from the June 13th meeting will not be published for another month. Apparently one Commissioner didn’t have time to review them.
4. The Election Commission has reversed its position on the cause of the delay in updating the voter file until June 13th. As recently as June 26th, the position was that the County Commission was to blame. This, apparently, is no longer the case. The Commission is investigating to find out what the hold-up was.
What We Don’t Know
1. We don’t know for sure that the voter file has been correctly updated. Perhaps we will find out after the external audit by the TNSOS.
2. We don’t know how many people received the wrong ballot (both in Municipal elections and from incorrect House District coding) since the start of the election.
3. We don’t know how this will impact the election, except that the inaccuracy of the voter file calls everything into question.
We need real answers instead of hedges. While the Election Commission admits errors, there’s little willingness on the body to take responsibility for those errors. Being told “We’ll look into it” is tantamount to being told “We’ll get to you when we’re ready”.
I just want the truth. Why did they wait? What I heard from people at the meeting off record was that Administrator Holden directed staff to not update the file against staff recommendations. So then why? If its not the County Commission’s fault anymore, whose is it?
Has the blame shifting game that the Election Commission has been engaged in for upwards of 5 months come crashing down on them? They may have overplayed their hand, but that doesn’t mean they’re busted. Telling a half-truth to the public apparently doesn’t have the same consequences that telling one in court does…and even less oversight.
Not all the Commissioners are doing this. Some are very open about it…on both sides of the partisan aisle. So why can’t the Commission whole just be open about it?
Either way, this will be resolved, and resolved in a way that reveals the truth. The sanctity of our elections and our vote rises above all partisanship. People on both sides of the partisan divide have been negatively impacted. This isn’t about D’s or R’s…its about have safe and reliable elections and trustworthy information from public officials.