Cohen questioning alleged voter roll inconsistencies

(WMC-TV) – US Congressman Steve Cohen says inconsistencies by the Shelby County Election Commission could rob voters of their rights.

Congressman Cohen recently wrote a letter to United States Attorney General Eric Holder notifying him of significant errors in the voting records last year.

Cohen says he first noticed the problem while preparing a district-wide mailing to constituents.  He says there have been problems as recently as December 2011 with the record-keeping at Shelby County Election Commission and he wants something to be done about it.

If there is purging of voters and it appears it's being done to African Americans exclusively, this is an issue for the US Department of Justice to look into," said Cohen.

Richard Holden, Administrator for the Shelby County Election Commission says that is not the case.

"That is absolutely false.  The voter histories are intact and have not been changed in any way," Holden stated.

Last month Bev Harris, the director of Black Box Voting, discovered that the voting histories of close to 500 Shelby County residents, many of them lifelong voters, may have been altered to make it appear that they did not vote in recent elections.

"They had voted in the August primaries in 2010 and their records indicated they had not voted.  The election commission said only 60 thousand people voted when over 100 thousand had voted.  We saw that error.  We called it to their attention," Cohen said.

Some prominent names on the list of voters include former Memphis Councilman Edmund Ford Sr., State Representative Johnnie Turner, and school board commissioner Sara Lewis.

"There are those with political agendas and I'm sure they're going to spin it so it's beneficial to them, but you can rest assured our records are accurate and reflect the way voters have participated," said Holden.

In August 2010, Cohen also requested an investigation by the Department of Justice into the voter irregularities that occurred during the Memphis and Shelby County elections held on August 5th.

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