2 City Council candidates threaten to sue Election Commission

As we begin early voting, two City Council candidates are threatening to sue the Shelby County Election Commission over the process.

The candidates say the Election Commission will break the law if it follows through with it's early voting plan Election Day.

And they say they'll take it to a judge, if necessary.

Memphis City Council Candidate Dell Gill has a problem with the Shelby County Election Commission. "They announced that they intend to count early voting results on the morning of the election and we contend that, according to the state law, that you cannot count the vote until, after the election as the law requires," says Gill.

But the Election Commission says that's not the case. They say they will download votes into the system earlier in the day but no votes will be totaled before 7:00 p.m.

Gill says that compromises the vote. "As a candidate, we have the right to observe the processing of the vote after the election. But if they would choose to count it before the election, obviously we can't be in an election facility," Gill adds.

He also fears there could be leaks, giving some candidates a competitive edge over others.

Gill has talked with his attorney about filing a temporary restraining order against the Election Commission.

"When Mr. Gill contacted me about this, I became concerned also because I am a candidate for District 3," says Jerome Payne, a candidate for City Council District 3 seat.

The candidates are now in a stalemate with election officials. "I am of the opinion that we can always negotiate a compromise in this matter. I cannot imagine them not following the law," Payne adds.

The Election Commission says this is an issue of time. They have to download memory drives from each precinct and scan thousands of absentee votes by mail.

We'll keep you posted as this unfolds.


to email Kontji Anthony.