TBI investigating Polk Co. vote-buying allegations - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

TBI investigating Polk Co. vote-buying allegations

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POLK COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - The Tennessee primary elections are over, but the state is investigating an alleged voter fraud case in Polk County.

The 10th Judicial District Attorney's Office and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are conducting interviews to get to the bottom of allegations that voters were bribed. Polk County Election Commission Officials say they received dozens of voter complaints in the weeks leading up to the election over the same issue. The district attorney's office called in the TBI to help investigate.

The TBI won't name which race is at the center of it, but says someone is accused of trying to buy votes.

"Everybody in town is talking about it. This is Polk County," Polk County voter Glenda Rogers said.

"It's all over the town so I do think they need to investigate it," Polk County voter Joyce Eunch said.

Voters throughout Polk County are well aware of the vote-buying allegations and many say they're glad the state is stepping in to investigate.

"That causes a lot of people to take notice. I mean people want to know that when they cast a vote in an election that it is an honest and fair system," TBI Public Information Officer Josh DeVine said.

It's left some questioning the validity of the election outcome, with many focusing on a high-profile local race.

"This race was fixed somehow," Polk County voter Ricky Creekmore said.

Several say cash and prescription pills were traded for votes, but investigators won't confirm any specifics about what was being offering.

"The allegations center that election fraud was being committed by payment for votes and at this point our investigation is still active and still ongoing," DeVine said.

Investigators are canvassing Polk County, gathering evidence and conducting interviews to get to the bottom of it. Voters say they just want to know their right to vote still means something and that anything to mess with it, won't be tolerated.

"That's your only freedom you really have. Just vote the way you want to and don't offer nobody nothing," Rogers said.

"I think another, special election should be held here in Polk County," Creekmore said.

Once the TBI completes its investigation, the findings will go to District Attorney Steve Crump to determine the next move. Crump is who originally requested the investigation in late July.

No timeline has been given on how much longer it will take.
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