Some Hamilton County voters impacted by boundary discrepancy
Of the 325 affected voters, 43 have already cast a ballot during the early voting period. Of those 43, the election commission has identified 13 that have voted improperly in a contested race.
UPDATE: The Hamilton County Election Commission called an emergency meeting for Wednesday, August 1.
Officials are looking into a boundary discrepancy. It impacts 325 Hamilton County residents. Forty-three of them voted early. Commissioners say there is nothing they can do about those votes.
The coordinator of elections office identified what appeared to be several incorrectly districted voters.
"What appeared to be some voting precincts in Hamilton County that may be located outside of the district boarders," said Kerry Steelman, with the Hamilton County Election Commission.
The state then requested a full geocoding of Hamilton County precincts and identified 325 voters in 198 parcels (out of over 300,000 parcels in Hamilton County) that appear to be outside of the district lines established by the 2010 U.S. Census.
"District lines that may have allegedly may have been arbitrarily moved by Hamilton county GIS," he explained.
Hamilton County GIS has served as the steward for district mapping for the Hamilton County Election Commission. Their office works directly with the office of local government to ensure the accurate mapping of Hamilton County's district lines in relation to Federal Census Block Data.
However, the office of local government is now contending that between 2013 and 2015 it appears Hamilton County GIS made arbitrary adjustments to district borders to correspond with parcels.
Of the 325 affected voters, 43 have already cast a ballot during the early voting period. Of those 43, the Election Commission has identified 13 that have voted improperly in a contested race. The impact has been isolated to State House District 28 and School Board District 5.
Of the remaining 282, approximately 42 voters will require one of three unique ballots as the suggested district combinations are not represented in any of Hamilton County's established 130 precincts. The remaining 240 will be able to cast a ballot for the precinct consistent with the district maps.
The election commission says a process has been established to ensure the accurate accounting of these votes.
"These voters that have had their district lines changed according to the state will be able to arrive at their voting precinct on their voter registration and vote the correct ballot through a provisional process," Steelman explained.
When affected voters arrive at their current precinct, their record has been noted that they are to proceed to the officer of election to vote their ballot through the provisional ballot process.
These ballots will be reconciled through the provisional ballot board at the Hamilton County Election Commission following the close of polls.
After this election, everyone who is impacted by this discrepancy will be issued new voter registration cards.
Here's a look at affected voters by district:
Hamilton County Commission Districts affected (Voters affected in parentheses):
- District 1 (30)
- District 2 (4)
- District 3 (0)
- District 4 (9)
- District 5 (56)
- District 6 (0)
- District 7 (9)
- District 8 (6)
- District 9 (3)
TN State House Districts affected (Voters affected in parentheses):
- District 26 (20)
- District 27 (24)
- District 28 (14)
- District 29 (101)
- District 30 (5)
Hamilton County School Board Districts affected (Voters affected in parentheses):
- District 10 (6)
- District 11 (47)