The Tennessee Comptroller’s audit division has concluded the Shelby County Election Commission has “demonstrated an inability to conduct elections without significant inaccuracies, including those identified in the 2012 elections.” But the audit review requested by Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett also concludes there was “no discernable evidence of intentional misconduct or other actions intended to affect or influence the election process or election outcomes in Shelby County.” The report – which goes to Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Hargett and state legislators, who will recommend election commissioners for counties across the state to the Tennessee Election Commission in April – examined election problems in Shelby County prior to 2012.
But the report focused its findings on the run-up to the Aug. 2 election. It specifically examined the election commission staff’s update of voter information to include, which districts the voters lived in as a result of the once-a-decade redistricting process. Redistricting reflects changes and shifts in population as measured in the U.S. Census. The report shows the local election commission was never on a detailed schedule worked out in advance and that elections administrator Richard Holden wasn’t preparing backup plans as Shelby County Commissioners delayed approval of their new district lines.
Hargett moved for the audit review after numerous complaints in Shelby County of voters getting the wrong district races on their ballots. The complaints began during the early voting period in July. Some suburban voters in precincts that included some citizens within as well as outside the boundaries of towns and cities complained that they didn’t get ballots with the referendums on forming municipal school districts.