Nov 8, 2022 - Politics

Ballot issues reported in 3 Tennessee counties

Illustration of a hand placing a ballot in a box.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Ballot mixups first reported last week in Nashville have taken place in two other Tennessee counties, with some voters assigned to the wrong districts.

  • A Nashville lawmaker is calling for a full 95-county investigation to determine if voters in other areas are getting ballots with misassigned races.

Driving the news: Each of the three counties reporting problems — Davidson, Shelby and Benton — are split among multiple congressional districts. Those districts were redrawn during a contentious redistricting process earlier this year.

State of play: The problem still appears to be most widespread in Davidson County, where officials say more than 430 early voters got faulty ballots that included the wrong congressional or state house races.

  • Those voters can cast a special provisional ballot Tuesday in the correct races at the Davidson County Election Commission office at 1417 Murfreesboro Pike. The commission released a list of eligible voters.
  • The provisional ballots will only be counted if the affected races are contested.

Nashville officials said some remaining voters who had not yet cast their ballot had also been misassigned.

  • They will get a corrected paper ballot when they arrive at their polling place Tuesday, while most others will cast their ballots on the normal machines.

Zoom out: Shelby County officials said 50 early voters were given ballots with the wrong congressional district, per the Commercial Appeal.

  • The Associated Press reported that the election administrator in Benton County corrected ballots for a few people who had been assigned to the wrong congressional district.

The latest: Secretary of state spokesperson Julia Bruck tells Axios the office "has been speaking with other counties and is unaware of any other issues."

  • The secretary of state's office is tasked with investigating the mixups, according to an agreement reached Friday in a lawsuit from the ACLU of Tennessee and the League of Women Voters.

What they're saying: House Democratic Caucus Chairman Vincent Dixie called the ballot problems an "election debacle" in an emailed statement Monday. He blamed Tennessee Republicans who led the redistricting process that split multiple counties.

  • "We need confidence that the problem has been corrected within all 95 election commissions and counties," Dixie said. "An audit of every election commission needs to happen as soon as possible."

Worth noting: Officials have stressed that the known ballot problems affect a relatively small number of Tennessee voters. The ACLU of Tennessee cheered the plan for provisional ballots in Nashville.

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