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VOL. 36 | NO. 34 | Friday, August 24, 2012

State will check Davidson County voter histories

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NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee election officials will review the voting histories of Davidson County residents as they look into how primary ballots were provided to voters.

According to The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/NWJa2d ), state election coordinator Mark Goins said the comparison could help determine whether some voters who did not express a party preference were provided with the Republican ballot on Aug. 2.

The issue came to light when Sheriff Daron Hall, an elected Democrat, said he voted in the GOP primary after officials at his poll failed to give him a party choice.

Tennessee Citizen Action said the county's new electronic poll books defaulted to the Republican ballot.

Goins said "defaulted" isn't right but said state law does require the party that has legislative control to be listed first; in this election, that was the Republicans.

"It doesn't sound like there was proper trai ning on that issue," Goins said.

Davidson County Election Administrator Albert Tieche assured Goins poll officials had been adequately trained.

The electronic poll books were used in 60 of Davidson County's 160 precincts in the primary elections. Goins said, after consulting with the state attorney general, he asked the Davidson County Election Commission to provide voting records of past elections. He said the state will review the list of Republican voters over the most recent and previous primary elections and see if anything "jumps out" from the statistics.

The local election commission has 45 days to provide the records.

Goins said he wants to determine whether what Hall experienced was repeated as other voters went to the polls.

He encouraged voters who believe they received the wrong ballot to call the Tennessee Division of Elections at (615) 741-7956.

Mary Mancini, Tennessee Citizen Action's executive director, said the implications could be staggering, if very many people got the wrong ballots. She pointed out that some races were very close. On the Democratic ticket, Harold Love defeated state Rep. Mary Pruitt by only 41 votes in the House District 58 primary.

Goins said local election officials did not tell him about Hall getting the wrong ballot. He heard the story thirdhand and called the sheriff to confirm it.