MEMPHIS, Tenn. — You’ve got to have a lot of miles racked up on the old odometer of life to remember this stuff. Like how results in the Kennedy-Nixon race weren’t determined until the day after the election. Same thing eight years later. Paper ballots needed to be counted, by hand. It took time.
Technology has changed so much that now we can see state results minutes after the polls close.
Now welcome to 2020 in Shelby County.
The Elections Commission wanted almost $6 million for new voting machines, and for scanners to count perhaps as many as 100,000 absentee ballots.
Commissioners voted to delay funding.
Elections Administrator Linda Phillips told Local 24 News more than a week ago, “If the County Commission does not fund us, I think it’s pretty unlikely that we will have election results.”
Commissioner Van Turner said it doesn’t have to be that way. He said elections people want both new scanners for absentee vote counting, and new voting machines. There are no plans on using the new machines in this vote. So Turner said, split the purchase up.
“I do not want to be responsible for results not coming in in a timely manner,” he said. “I’m willing to call for a special meeting. I will encourage Commission Chairman Eddie Jones to do that, and then we can get those scanners purchased right now.”
What we have are two groups who feel they’ve been painted into a corner. Election officials said they can’t split the purchase. Turner said they can.
“If we are really serious about processing these absentee ballots, bring us the number of scanners you need. We can allocate the money right now and save the ballot machines until after November 3rd.”