The delays in counting votes and the trouble handling party symbol votes that plagued the 2014 election will repeat themselves in 2016, unless the Legislature acts or a lawsuit is filed and won in the next several months, elections officials told the V.I. Legislature this week. The Legislature met as the Committee of the Whole on Tuesday evening to hear from elections officials. The territory purchased new vote tabulating machines after Adelbert Bryan, who was at the time the St. Croix Elections Board chairman, waged a campaign to get rid of the territory’s previous machines, alleging, without evidence, possible widespread conspiracies to rig the territory’s elections and making numerous dubious claims about the old machines. In a test run shortly before the general election in 2014, the brand new ES&S ballot tabulators counted votes in a surprising way, due to the unique V.I. electoral system where senators vie to be the top seven vote-getters in their district.
Those sneaky Democrats need to stop meddling with Republican elections in Tennessee — at least that’s the sentiment of a new push by conservative members of the Tennessee Republican State Executive Committee that’s forced party Chairman Chris Devaney to call an emergency meeting. Earlier this month a group of 16 members of the GOP state executive committee requested the party call a special meeting to discuss a resolution pertaining to open primaries. If the resolution is adopted, the Tennessee GOP would officially support requiring everyone to register to vote by party and allowing people to vote only in the primary election of their party. Seems simple, and it’s required in 28 other states. But in Tennessee, voters don’t need to register by party and they can choose to vote in the Republican or Democratic primary. In the view of many tea party-aligned Republicans, that leaves the party open to Democrats voting for moderate Republicans in the primary because they know their Democratic candidates can’t win in Tennessee, particularly in statewide races.
The unprecedented nature of the upcoming recall primary elections has led a state board to determine that voting rules will differ from past primaries, allowing voters to vote for both Democrats and Republicans instead of receiving a single party primary ballot. Normal primaries, like the one that will occur on August 14, are considered one election, Government Accountability Board spokesperson Reid Magney said. However, he said because of the upcoming recall election, there will be six primaries, one for governor, one for lieutenant governor and four for the state senators, which are legally separate but held on the same day. Even though the elections are separate, there will only be one ballot, Magney said. Because there is also only one Republican primary election in the case of Gov. Scott Walker running against Madison citizen Arthur Kohl-Riggs, Magney said, those who wish to also participate can vote in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor and the four senators. However, voters will not be able to vote in both the Republican and the Democratic primary for governor, Magney said.