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.
A federal judge this week will consider naming a “special master” to get to the bottom of Tennessee Democrats’ assertions that voter data files received from state election officials contained partially or even totally blank voting histories for an estimated 11,000 voters. Attorney George Barrett, who is representing Democrats in a federal lawsuit against Republican Secretary of State Tré Hargett and state Elections Coordinator Mark Goins, said U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Sharp heard the case Friday in Cookeville, Tenn. The judge asked both sides to agree on how to deal with issues raised in court testimony, Barrett said. Barrett, who is representing the Tennessee Democratic Party and former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn., said both sides agreed Friday night on a consent order, which they intend to submit to Sharp this week.
Former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis is suing the state, claiming that he and thousands of other Tennesseans were illegally taken off voter rolls in a recent purge of old registrations. Davis filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court Monday that says state election officials broke the law by not requiring more than 70,000 voters to be notified that their registrations had been canceled. Davis decided to sue after he and his wife were turned away at the polls when they attempted to vote in the Fentress County Democratic primary last Tuesday. “We’re seeing what I believe (is) an attack on individuals’ opportunity to be able to vote,” Davis said.
Tennessee: Democratic Party Says Election Commission Should Reveal Names Of Purged Voters | Chattanoogan.com
Announcing its support for the class action lawsuit filed by former congressman Lincoln Davis, naming as defendants Governor Bill Haslam, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Tennessee of Coordinator of Elections Marty Goins, the Hamilton County Democratic Party called on the Hamilton County Election Commission to join the lawsuit, and also to release the names of voters who have been purged from voter rolls since Mr. Goins’ appointment on Feb. 11, 2009. “As of Dec. 1, 2011, approximately 8,000 voters had been purged from the rolls in Hamilton County, just according to the six-month report included in the lawsuit,” said Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Paul Smith. “That is far more than would be needed to decide an election. We have the right to know who was purged, why, their party affiliation, their gender and their race. If the election commission is truly fair and unbiased, it will join the lawsuit and release this information to the public.”
Former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis said he and his wife Lynda were denied the right to vote Tuesday in his Fentress County hometown. “We walked in and they told me I was not a registered voter. I had been taken off the list,” said Davis, who served two terms representing the fourth congressional district of Tennessee, leaving office in 2011. “These are people who I grew up with. I told them I live here. I went to school about 20 yards away.” Davis has been voting in Pall Mall, Tenn., since 1995, he said. He has also voted in city elections, in Pickett County’s Byrdstown, where he served as mayor from 1978-82, for about the last 15 years, he said.