MEMPHIS, TN--Voters in Collierville and Bartlett anxious to vote on their own school districts are already fed up with the early voting process. Many of them left the polls Monday without being allowed to vote on the question.
Shelby County voters lined up Monday to cast their votes early for the August 2nd election. As Memphis City and Shelby County Schools are set to consolidate next summer, one of the main issues on the ballot is if municipalities will start their own school systems.
Collierville resident Janet Simpson left the polls upset, "They said I probably can't vote again."
Simpson took it on herself to let the voters lined up outside the Collierville voting station know there were problems. Instantly people began asking her questions she didn't have the answers to. She didn't get the school referendum on her ballot and cast it anyway. "That's what I did without knowing that it wouldn't let me go on to let me vote on the school issue," Simpson says.
Collierville's administrator, James Lewellen says, "Folks are pretty upset, they're upset with the glitch."
Lewellen says they had so many reports of problems they contacted the election commission only to find more than 500 recently annexed homes are not appearing within the city limits at polling places. "I don't know what the election commission will do," Lewellen says. "But the first response is, once you've cast your ballot it's over."
Bartlett had the same problem. The town's Mayor, Keith McDonald says, "It's one we can fix for future people, but if you're one of the people that got left out, after all we've been through to get to this point and you didn't even get a chance to cast your vote, you feel disenfranchised."
Collierville leaders went to the polls around noon to talk to workers. Lewellen says, "They were all made aware of the problem and they're trying to work through it and notify folks as they come in to vote."
However, that afternoon, that wasn't the message voters received. Collierville resident Joe Lopez says, "That hurts and I wish they would have said something ahead of time or some sort of notice."
Simpson is now unsure if she will get the chance to vote on the entire reason she showed up to the polls. "I think they should let you know definitely, I think most of us are here to vote because of the schools."
The Mayor of Bartlett says the city's glitch should be cleared up. He has the City's attorney looking at whether or not voters will have a chance to re-cast a vote for the schools.
Collierville is asking voters in recently annexed areas to wait a few days to vote. If the school issue does not show up on your ballot, do not vote. Notify a poll worker.