The Tennessee Election Commission could take “serious and substantial” action — possibly including ousting members of the Shelby County Election Commission — depending on the outcome of a review of the problems in the Aug. 2 election, a Memphis member of the state board said Monday. A performance audit of those problems by the state comptroller’s office is expected to begin as soon as this week, State Election Commission member Greg Duckett of Memphis said. The audit was requested July 26 by Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and State Election Coordinator Mark Goins, who both called the problems “unacceptable.” Election analyst Joe Weinberg of Germantown estimates that nearly 3,200 Shelby voters were given incorrect ballots, mostly for the new state legislative districts they were moved into during this year’s redistricting, during the Aug. 2 election, including its early voting period. That number included some voters in areas annexed by Collierville, who were not given ballots that included that city’s referendum on municipal schools. The votes cast in incorrect districts were not counted and voters had no chance under state law to cast correct ballots after they had already voted.
The problems were discussed during Monday’s monthly meeting of the State Election Commission. Goins told the seven-member state commission that he has written to Shelby County election officials asking for details of the problems, including when they started the redistricting process, who had oversight of the project, when they first realized there was a problem, what were the sources of the errors and whether any disciplinary action has been taken. He asked for a response by Wednesday. “There were just a lot of things that took place there that shouldn’t have happened,” Goins said. No other county had the magnitude of issues in the last election as Shelby.