Democrats call for investigation of Tennessee election office
NASHVILLE, TN (WRCB) -- Tennessee Democrats are calling for an investigation of the state election office after allegations of several improprieties during the recent statewide primary have come to light, one involving a former U.S.Congressman.
State Party Chairman Chip Forrester said that he wants the state elections chief held accountable for the high-profile mistakes seen in the primary. Forrester is calling for top-to-bottom review of the primary election to "address a pattern of serious errors that denied voters access to the polls and even disenfranchised a former U.S. Congressman and his wife."
"There has to be accountability in government, and when there are this many mistakes, accountability starts at the top," Forrester said. "Secretary of State Tre Hargett and State Election Coordinator Mark Goins have decided that attacking the victims of their incompetence is more important than doing their jobs, which is to ensure every eligible voter has the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote."
Former Congressman Lincoln Davis has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of the thousands of Tennesseans who were purged from the voter rolls "as part of a campaign of voter disenfranchisement launched by Republicans in 2010."
Davis said the lawsuit seeks to "shed light on the secretive process used to purge voters" and calls to restore the names of those unfairly removed from the voter rolls.
"This attack on voter rights is not limited to Congressman Davis; it is but one in a series of election failures that happened on or before the Primary," Forrester added. "These failures raise serious concerns about the leadership and accountability of Secretary Hargett and Coordinator Goins."
Among the complaints Forrester makes are the lack of government-issued photo IDS for those over the age of 60, the end of early voting in Davidson County ahead of the previously agreed upon date, a Nashville judge who had been denied the ability to vote by an "improperly trained" poll worker, and provisional ballot documents that gave an incorrect phone number to voters.
"This is flagrant incompetence and mismanagement. Tennessee taxpayers deserve to see some accountability and a plan to fix this unbelievable mess," Forrester said. "At this point, there are far too many errors and red flags for any voter to feel confident in our election office."