Election Commission tries to recover from recent problems

As Shelby County Election Commission workers prepare for Mays primary election, they're trying to recover from a number of recent problems.

"Unfortunately, given the politics of the community, it has skewed the perception of the election commission," said Election Commission Chairman Greg Duckett.

The Election Commission came under heavy scrutiny over the recent District 29 election, where Ophelia Ford beat Terry Rowland by just 13 votes. Numerous votes were tossed out because the actual voter was deceased.

Then there were questions about voting machines and whether new ones will insure ballots are counted. There was also the case of a poll worker who didn't show up, so her sister took her place without proper training or permission.

Election Commission Chairman Greg Duckett acknowledged the problems, but said some are out of local control.

"A number of them rest in the state statute as it relates to access to accurate information and the definition of residency," he said.

Duckett wasn't convinced an audit of his office will be beneficial.

"If we're going to do something like that, it should be an independent body, not a body with a vested interest in the outcome," he said. Duckett said he would hope a review would clear the commission's reputation.

"(It would) insure that none of the political issues that were presented in the last election were rooted in systematic failures in the election commission," he said.

That would be a badly needed vote of confidence.