State elections officials and lawyers for Democratic plaintiffs in a voter purge lawsuit have agreed to ask a federal judge to appoint a special master to look into missing voter files. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the request is being made as part of a lawsuit filed against the state by former Democratic U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis, who says he was wrongfully kept from voting in the state’s presidential primary in March. Plaintiffs’ attorney George Barrett told the paper that the two sides have agreed to ask U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp to appoint the special master to investigate claims that 11,000 voters’ records contain partial or completely blank voting histories. “We’ve asked the court to appoint a special master to investigate those facts and see what happened, if anything,” Barrett said.
Barrett said the issue is important because state law allows officials to remove people who haven’t voted in the past two federal elections if they do not respond later to an address confirmation notice. State Election Coordinator Mark Goins said he wants to dispel claims that anything unusual occurred.
“We are confident the histories are there and want the court to appoint a special master to show the Democrat Party’s claims are unfounded,” he said in a statement. “We want a third party looking into this because we know the truth and want to show Tennesseans nothing is wrong with our voter data.” Goins’ spokesman Blake Fontenay added that state law prohibits purges of inactive voters within 90 days of an election.