The chairman of the Sevier County Democratic Party, who serves on the Sevier County Election Commission, said he believes no candidates from his party are running in upcoming county elections in part because they don’t trust the machines being used in the election. Michael Fitzgibbons said he has no issue with any of the personnel working for the election commission, and isn’t accusing any of them of tampering with the machines. He isn’t saying he has evidence of a specific instance of tampering. But he said his research has indicated it’s possible to tamper remotely or on site with the Election Systems & Software Ivotronic voting machines used in Sevier County, and he doesn’t believe the possibility can be ruled out until different machines are used.
That research dates back to 2010, when Fitzgibbons and two other Democratic candidates for County Commission lost by margins Fitzgibbons said were improbably similar.
He ran as a candidate himself against Gary Cole forSeat 11A , and took 22.9 percent of the vote. Scott Whaley ran against Bryan Delius for Seat 11A, and got 26.1 pecent of the vote. And Jerry Harrell took 24.5 percent of the vote in the contest for Seat 8A with Gene Byrd.
With different percentages of Democrats and Republicans in each district, Fitzgibbons said he didn’t believe it made sense for the percentages to be so similar. The total number of votes in each case was between 1141 and 1149. “The question arose, is there something wrong with the equipment being used. How could those numbers come out like that? It didn’t make sense.”