Fraud claims drive push for new voting machines - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Fraud claims drive push for new voting machines

County leaders are mulling over plans to spend millions of your dollars to update voting machines, amid claims of voter fraud and a state criminal investigation.

When Shelby County Commissioner Bruce Thompson asked the County's top election officials whether new voting machines would keep dead people from voting, they answered simply: the "machines" do not create fraud.

"Any issues associated with that is not system, in terms of the hardware related, it's people related," said Greg Duckett of the Shelby Co. Election Commission.

But with the state now investigating a handful of questionable votes, some of them cast by voters who died long before election day, the commission's credibility is on the line. And plans to spend county dollars on new voting machines may have gotten a boost.

"When you go into that booth and cast your vote, you need to have every confidence that it's going to count and that it will make a difference. And you don't have that feeling when dead people are voting," said County Commissioner Marilyn Loeffel.

The election commission needs 1,500 new voting machines at a cost that could come close to four million dollars. One of the two choices will have a paper back-up, that - some argue - will protect against the kind of fraud now alleged in the Ophelia Ford - Terry Rowland race for the District 29 Senate seat. Ford won by 13 votes.

Commissoner Julian Bolton says the County needs the machines because the old ones are outdated. But the fraud - he says - will happen anyway.

"That's not the problem. The problem is the public apathy. If more voters had come out, the few low votes that fraud would make little difference. There's voter fraud in every single election," said County Commissioner Juliam Bolton.

The election commission is still reviewing the machines before they make a recommendation to the County Commission. That will likely come in a few weeks.

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