Audit reveals what caused early voting problems

Audit reveals what caused early election problems

(WMC-TV) – An eight page state audit reveals what led to the suspension of the Shelby County Election Commission administrator.

The audit states that "poor judgment and mistakes" were what caused the early voting debacle in August.

Shelby County Election Commission Administrator Rich Holden is currently serving a three day unpaid suspension and he will also be on probation for six months.

Holden said he was a scapegoat in the August 2 early voting election fumble.

"It's done for political purposes," he said.

On Tuesday, the Tennessee Comptroller's Office released the list of mistakes that caused 3,200 voters to get the wrong ballot.

The audit says Holden focused all of the commission's efforts on an unapproved map, with no backup plan.

He stopped redistricting operations for four weeks to wait for the Shelby County Commission to approve a map. The audit says he then compounded the problem by consolidating precincts. It says he also never dispatched teams to drive through communities to verify addresses.

Now, school board commissioner and candidate Dr. Kenneth Whalum, Junior is suing. He lost by 108 votes.

The City of Millington is also suing.

Their half-cent sales tax hike failed by three votes, but 135 votes cast against the referendum came from the nearby Lucy community, which is not part of Millington.

But Holden was not alone.

The audit says the Board of Commissioners failed to properly oversee the process. It also says that computer techs failed to fix easily detectible map errors in neighborhood block boundaries.

Auditors say there is no indication the errors involved misconduct and that no one seemed intent on influencing election outcomes.

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