Local group concerned about voting machine reliability in upcoming election

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – A group called Shelby Advocates for Valid Elections (SAVE) want the Shelby County Election Commission to make sure voting machines are working and everybody’s accurate vote is counted.

The Memphis City elections are around the corner, with early voting scheduled for Friday, September 13.

There has been one time that election results were challenged successfully, a race between Ophelia Ford and Terry Roland for State Senate, and it had nothing to do with machines.

The members of SAVE, however, think the machines are ripe for having information picked off. They have filed a federal lawsuit, in fact.

“These machines are very old,” says group member and former State Rep and school board member Mike Kernell. “They admit they’re very old. All over the country these machines aren’t working well.”

The Diebold voting machines are state of the art technology, for the year 2003. That’s the problem. There have been complaints about the machines since the first election they were introduced.Nothing has changed, and no elections have been overturned because of machine errors, even with several lawsuits filed over the years.

Dr. Joseph Weinberg of SAVE says, “These machines have been shown since 2003 to be very poor in terms of how to protect the vote. Elections commissions have known about this for 16 years now, and they’re not doing anything about it.”

Shelby County Election Commission folks say that’s not true. Vote counting is done in a locked glass room, where nobody is allowed in but those counting things up. There is a camera on in that room.

Elections Supervisor Linda Phillips has said for years these machines are not connected to the internet. Former State Representative and City Councilman Carol Chumney says she is concerned about one thing. “We just want everybody’s vote to be counted.”

Here is the statement Shelby County Election Commission issued Monday afternoon: 

There is a public test of the voting machines before each election. All candidates and news media are invited, and it is open to the public.

The vote tabulator or server- its accurate name – is in a locked glass room inside the heart of the Operations Center. The Election Commissioners, both Democrat and Republican, sit outside the room and watch the entire process. No one person is ever alone in the server room.

As for video surveillance, it appears that neither Ms. Chumney nor Mr. Kernell have attended the counting process in any recent election. Had they done so they could have watched everything behind the scenes on the close circuit TV system that was upgraded in 2016.

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