The Shelby County Election Commission is accused of deleting the voting records of 488 people who are mostly African-American and Democrat. Congressman Steve Cohen is calling for the Department of Justice to investigate the matter, all while the Elections Commission says there’s no problem at all. Administrator Richard Holden volunteered to show us the database. He said all the names and voting records are there. A blogger accused the commission of deleting the records of 488 voters, to perhaps, prevent them from voting. “I don`t have any records of ever providing data to anyone who lives in Seattle,” said Holden.
Norma Lester with the Shelby County Election Commission says the commission chair requested an investigation into recent allegations of thousands of county voter histories being purged, according to a letter FOX 13 obtained. Blogger Bev Harris with Black Box Voting originally said her research showed that 488 lifelong voters, mainly African American and democratic voters, were missing in the Shelby County registry. People on this list include political figures like Darrick Harris and Edmund Ford. “There’s 600,000 voters on the Shelby County voter list and for it just to happen to African Americans in one particular district who vote democrat is certainly not just random chance,” says Harris. Harris says after continuing her research, she found that not just 488 but 13,000 voter histories have been erased from the Shelby County voter registry. … Congressman Steve Cohen says the missing records go even deeper. The Congressman announced on Sunday that he’s contacted U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder about 40,000 missing voter histories, which Cohen says is the precursor to purging. He says he noticed the discrepancy in Dec. 2011 when he pulled records from Aug. 2010 for his election mailings.
Tennessee: “Erased Voters’ Gaffe May Force Changes by Shelby County Election Commission | Memphis Flyer
Whether it’s a case of a blind squirrel finding real acorns or a maligned activist coming into her own with important revelations, new questions raised about the Shelby County Election Commission by controversial Seattle-area voting-rights activist Bev Harris may well cause serious investigations and important procedural changes.
Allegations from Harris last week that hundreds of Shelby County voters — almost all black Democrats — have had their voting history erased have put Election Commission officials on the defensive and prompted a demand from 9th District congressman Steve Cohen Sunday that the U.S. Department of Justice and Tennessee State Election Coordinator Mark Goins look into her charges. “The ballot must remain free and open to all,” said Cohen, who had made similar requests for DOJ scrutiny following a glitch in the August 2010 countywide election that caused several hundred voters to be turned away, at least temporarily, after an erroneous early-voting list had been fed into the county’s electronic voting log.
An attempt to allow citizens to inspect ballots is likely to be killed today by the House. House Bill 1548 would repeal the right-to-know exemption for ballots passed in 2003 after groups began asking the Secretary of State’s Office to review ballots when the retention period ended but before they were destroyed. Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said, “After we started getting requests like that, the Legislature passed the exemption to place in statute what had been long-standing policy.” Ballots were always considered private after an election, he said. Ballots were always sealed and held and only opened for a recount or a court order, Scanlan said.