Leaders voice frustration with polling problems - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Leaders voice frustration with polling problems

(WMC-TV) – Memphis leaders are speaking out and demanding answers in the ongoing problems at the polls. Issues with the Shelby County ballots are still unresolved just days before the election.

As voters head to the polls Thursday, State Representative Mike Kernell says it is the election commissioner's job to make sure everything is ready and accurate.

Rep. Kernell is sending a letter to the county administrator of elections to offer some solutions.

"We're recommending that the voters be told that if it's the wrong district on the machine to stop the vote, and we're recommending the polls have enough paper ballots that people can mark and that is a traditional low technology method of making sure people have a right to vote," said Kernell. 

Tennessee election officials have asked for an audit in Shelby County after reports that roughly 5 percent of voters got the wrong ballot during early voting.

David Holt was the first one to notice the problem.

"When we got to the machine and got to District 93, instead of Mike Kernell coming up as my representative, it put me in District 98, so I pulled over a poll worker and asked to cancel my vote," explained Holt.

Voting database expert Dr. Joe Weinberg estimated thousands of voters cast early choices on the wrong ballot.

The mistakes are largely the result of redistricting and they are affecting state legislative races.

Many of the improper ballots are in uncontested races, but several hundred of them have showed up District 93, Kernell's district.

Kernell says he continues to hear complaints from voters.

Action News 5 also spoke with State Rep. G.A. Hardaway. He says the Voting Right's Coalition and NAACP have also launched a voter protection hotline to address voting issues. That number is 901-521-1343.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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