List of 2010 Election Problems in the News

This is a continuing project. Currently this page hosts problems with Shelby County Tennessee 2010 elections. The problems with Tennessee election administration are severe. Officials seem to be in over their heads trying to manage unreliable paperless electronic voting and with electronic poll books with no paper backup.  This list was last last updated on Aug 21, 2010. For comprehensive list of election problems in the news from 2008 and before, see Voters Unite Database

Shelby County Tennessee 2010 Voting Problems in the News

Electronic poll book issues:

The Shelby Co Tennessee election board voted 5-0 to certify flawed election after blaming all problems on a single "human error". Some lawsuits in the works and TBI is investigating situation where as many as 5,000 voters were blocked from casting a regular ballot or turned away from voting.
"Tennessee Computer Glitch Prevents Thousands From Voting"  Below are news articles starting from most recent to earliest.  You may have to read bottom first .

TN: Aug. 5 election results certified, but unfinished business remains * ...With the 5-0 vote, the commission cleared the way for those elected candidates to take office, commission chairman Bill Giannini said.
Also, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is inspecting the election process, but it's uncertain when their results will be made public.

TN: Official defends election system
Glitches mostly result of 'human error,' Goins says
NASHVILLE - Multiple problems in the first statewide voting since Republicans took control of Tennessee's election apparatus were mostly the result of simple "human error," state Election Coordinator Mark Goins said Wednesday.

TN: Election Commission Rules "Human Error" Caused Glitch, Clears Way for Certification
The causative mistake, documented in a report prepared jointly by Meyers and Johnson, was a freely acknowledged one by the commission’s I T director, Dennis Boyce, a civil servant, who told commission director Rich Holden on the morning of election day, Thursday, August 5, that “he had made an error in selecting one of the data files” that were loaded into the Electronic Poll Book (EPM) used for voting that day.

TN: Shelby County Election Commission Releases Its Findings On Election Day Problems *
Commissioners say on August 5th, Computer Analyst Dennis Boyce loaded the wrong data files into the Electronic Polling Books (EPB). The data he loaded reflected people who voted in last May’s election and as a result people like Thompson went to vote on August 5th, only to be told they voted already.
Turner says he’s come across voters who say they didn’t vote in the May election, but were still turned away on August 5th. The Shelby County Democratic Party is also conducting an investigation and will release its own report and recommendations.

TN: Judge lays guidelines for inquiry of election *
Democrats given limited access to voting results
A judge on Monday laid out written ground rules for Shelby County Democrats' inspection of voting equipment and records as they continued a legal challenge of how the Republican-controlled Election Commission handled the Aug. 5 vote.
On Monday afternoon, the Democratic team was seeking items including the "statement of votes cast" by precinct and candidate, the list of eligible voters from Aug. 5, and the incident report log, which would record calls about voting problems, said Interim County Trustee Regina Morrison Newman, one of the Democrats who filed the lawsuit.
Democrats filed a lawsuit Aug. 9, citing the poll book problem and alleging others, including improper tallying of votes and that at one polling location, Shiloh Baptist Church in Frayser, machines were not working when the polls opened.

TN: Litigants' Direct Inspection of Voting Results Halted Until Monday

TN: Group Calls on Sharpton for Voting Flap (Shelby County, Diebold machines)
"We believe that the smoking gun, as it relates to this election, are the machines themselves," said Greg Grant, President of the National Action Network's Memphis chapter

TN: When a Memphis election goes off without a hitch, that will be the shocker* The fact that the wrong voter file was loaded into the system (and I am receiving reports that people who did NOT EVEN VOTE IN MAY were affected by this problem) shows incompetence from the EC
Bill Gibbons had to call in the TBI because HE was one of the affected voters, folks, and as such could not investigate it.

TN: Cohen Did The Right Thing Bringing in the DOJ, This is Officially FUBAR There was a meeting Wednesday night at the IBEW Hall on Madison, and nearly 500 people showed up to sign affidavits and tell their stories about voting problems on Election Day

TN: Electoral Foul Play or Incompetence Alleged *
Candidates Minerva Johnican and Regina Newman sued the Shelby County Election Commission, with co-plaintiff Lexie Carter, a voter. They want the Election Commission to hand over all the data gathered and equipment used during the elections for an independent review.

According to the complaint, the Election Committee Chairman Bill Giannini acknowledged that an estimated 5,000 voters were turned away on Election Day.

TN: Cohen's Call for DOJ Probe of Voting Snafu Climaxes First Protest Meeting
[article goes into more detail on assortment of election problems]

TN: US Rep Cohen Asks Feds To Investigate Election Problems * The election commission reported that problems occurred after election workers accidentally loaded early voting information from the May election, prompting poll workers to incorrectly tell some people they had already voted in the Aug. 5 election.

TN: Shelby Co DA Asks TBI to Investigate Problems at the Polls *
Did someone intentionally load the wrong poll data onto the electronic poll books

TN: Randy Wade Refuses to Concede (video interview about Shelby Co mess)
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Candidate for Sheriff Randy Wade said he will not concede until a voting glitch at the polls has been investigated.

TN: Commission requests 'independent' review of Aug. 5 Shelby election * The Shelby County Election Commission on Monday asked Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Bill Gibbons to "refer an independent agency to review the Aug. 5 election."

And Shelby County Democratic Party chairman Van Turner said attorneys for the commission have reached an agreement to allow plaintiffs in a lawsuit to inspect voting equipment prior to final certification of the elections.
The commission said the problem occurred because a database of early voters for the May primaries was incorrectly loaded into electronic polling books, rather than the database of early voters from the Aug. 5 election. Therefore, some voters were told the computers showed that they had already voted.

TN: Voting glitch affects as many as 5,000 (Shelby)
May election information entered into electronic polling books instead of July

TN: Stand-Off On Shelby County Voting Numbers*
Elections officials and independent auditors battle over access to number,0,767269.story
They weren't dancing. Two lawyers were physically being kept from pounding the legal sand out of each other. Welcome to the elections of 2010, Shelby County style.

Lawyers for the Shelby County Democratic Party and the Elections Commission had an agreement. Independent auditors could look at the numbers on the Diebold Computer system. But there was an immediate problem. County Attorney Greg Garrick was basically saying hey, I'd love to help you, "But it's not up to us. There is an agreement between Shelby County and Diebold not to release certain information about the machines. "

TN: SCEC Report - Part 2 * (attorneys blocked from audit log records)
The poster log is a text file (I don't presume to be an expert but this was the explanation the experts put forth). The log keeps track of actions which could have been made to the system which would override vote totals. David Cocke was stunned that such overrides were possible, but assured Mr. Settle, as the "dispute resolver" on site, that we needed a copy of the log. The SCEC attorney consulted with Richard Holden again and announced that it was proprietary to Diebold and there was no way we were going to get it.

TN: Election Day From Hell* (precinct official in Shelby Co TN) Yesterday, August 5, 2010, I worked as a Republican Registrar at the 7200 East Shelby Road voting precinct.
Of course in such a circumstance, the voter is NOT turned away. Instead the voter is referred to the poll officer who calls downtown to the SCEC to verify the information. We learned quickly that there was an error in the EV record on our portable computers and the voter was permitted to vote. Soon after, we had a second voter with the same circumstance, and that is when we knew we had a problem. In operation, this was actually a minor snafu, a definite inconvenience for some of our voters who had to wait longer to vote, but NO ONE was turned away.
I’m sure we will hear more of the EV snafu in the days, weeks and months ahead. It really was a stupid mistake by a programmer and perhaps he or she needs to seek employment elsewhere. This was a biggee! Not only did it inconvenience voters, but it gives an excuse for others to question the integrity of the ballot itself.

TN: Election Commission Investigating Voting Glitch* ..."I'm sorry you can't vote,"
the Election Commission will conduct their own investigation into the problem. If they aren't able to get to the bottom of it, they will ask outside investigators to come in and take a look at the problem.

TN: Computer Glitch Causes Problems At The Polls*
MEMPHIS, TN— A computer glitch caused problems for as many as 3,000 Shelby County voters when the polls opened election day.

According to Election Commissioner, Bill Giannini electronic equipment used to check voters had the wrong information loaded into them. Instead of showing early voters for this election, poll workers were given early voting lists from the May primary.

TN: Tennessee Computer Glitch Prevents Thousands From Voting*
Election Commissioner Bill Giannini said that as many as 3,000 voters were taken to voting machines only to find that poll workers inadvertently used electronic cards from May's primary election.

An error would then pop up saying the individual had already voted in the August 5 election. Voters were allowed to submit a provisional ballot but many didn't want to go through the hassle.

TN: Democratic Leaders Call for Federal Investigation of Thursday's Election*'s-election
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Chair for the Shelby County Democratic Party is calling for a federal probe into Thursday's voting glitch.

The glitch was discovered at some polling locations early Thursday. The mistake made it look like some voters had cast their ballots when they hadn't. While some voters were turned away from the polls at first, they were later asked to return and cast their votes.
The Election Commission said less than 500 provisional ballots were cast because of the problem.

TN: Electronic Glitch Jeopardizes Completion of Countywide Voting*
During the opening of polls at 7:00 a.m., it was discovered that voters who may have voted EARLY in the May primary but had not Early Voted for the Augbust election were recognized by EPB’s (Electronic Poll Books) as having already voting in this election.