The count is over in the political race between U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais and state Senator Jim Tracy, with the former ahead by 38 votes, making the count thus far, 34,793 to 34,755. On Friday, election officials in Franklin County threw out one provisional ballot, which was the last to be counted, after they determined that the voter had not been registered. A provisional ballot is counted only after a voter provides additional documentation or other necessary paperwork to make their vote official. In this case, there was a conflict with the voter’s comments and their registration paperwork, thus their provisional vote had to be thrown out. Raymond Council, Democratic representative on the Franklin County Election Commission, said Monday that the provisional vote being discounted occurred because a voter thought they were registered, but were not.
… Tracy could demand a recount, or he could challenge aspects of how the vote was conducted. Six years ago, the Tennessee Democratic Party overturned a 19-vote victory by Clarksville state Sen. Rosalind Kurita over attorney Tim Barnes after he claimed the primary had been spoiled by Republican crossover voters and poll workers who steered his supporters to the wrong primary.
The attorney general’s office defended the move, arguing that primary elections are party functions, not state elections. Although Tennessee election law does not require voters to register party affiliations, it does say primaries are open to “bona fide” members only. No clear criteria have been set to determine which voters qualify.