FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Machines Default to Republican Ballot

Clip art of man with megaphoneFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Nashville, Tenn. (August 27, 2012) — The brand new Electronic Poll Books used in the August 2 primary election in Davidson County, TN, defaulted to the Republican ballot if a poll worker did not choose a specific ballot for the voter.

“This is unconscionable! Outrageous!,” said Mary Mancini, executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action, “No piece of any equipment that’s part of any election should ever default to one party or another. EVER. The fact that the electronic poll books default to the majority party is an egregious oversight by the Davidson County Election Commission (DCEC).”

The Electronic Poll Books (EPBs), used in a portion of the voting precincts during the primary, replaced the paper poll books and paper ballot application on which the voter chose their primary ballot. The EPBs are comprised of three parts – a tablet-device, a scanner, and a mini-printer. When a voter enters their polling location, the poll worker scans their voter registration card or drivers license and the voter’s voting record appears on the tablet. At that point, the poll worker is supposed to ask which ballot the voter wants – Republican, Democratic, or General Ballot. The poll worker then chooses the ballot for the voter. The poll worker then prints out the ballot application with the designated ballot on it and gives it to the voter. The voter takes the printout  to the machine operator who then places the cartridge with the designated ballot in the voting machine for the voter.

It should be noted that at least 6 known voters received the wrong ballot, including 3 elected officials – Sheriff Daron Hall, Juvenile Court Clerk David Smith, and State Senator Joe Haynes. Mr. Smith and Senator Haynes caught the mistake and voted on the correct ballot. Sheriff Hall unintentionally voted on the Republican ballot.

“The law of averages is not on the side of the Davidson County Election Commission,” Mancini added, “if it happened to these folks, how many others did it happen to? There must be a halt to the use of these machines, a complete and independent audit of both the August 2 primary and the Davidson County Election Commission, and the state needs to notify the District Attorney, the state Attorney General, and the U.S. Attorney General. This could be a violation of the Voting Rights Act.”

Tennessee Citizen Action works in the public interest as Tennessee’s premier consumer rights organization. Our mission is to work to improve the overall health, well-being, and quality of life for all people who live and work in Tennessee.

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Mary Mancini


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One Response to “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Machines Default to Republican Ballot”
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