It has been a controversial year, to put it mildly, when it comes to the Shelby County Election Commission, especially concerning early voting.
What we have seen in just two weeks includes long lines and machine troubles, especially when people need to see the ballot in bigger print, and volunteer poll workers who are unsure of what they’re doing.
It’s why Shelby County Commissioners dusted off the hot seats for Election Commission Chairman Robert Meyers and for Administrator Linda Phillips.
They came in, they sat down, and they got right to it.
Subject number one: what’s with all those voter registration forms that you say haven’t been filled out correctly.
“The forms that were dumped on us the last day,” says Shelby County Elections Administrator Linda Phillips, “…many are illegible, incomplete, some have crossed the line into fraud.”
But it was something that Phillips said, how the forms were “dumped” on her, how some forms had crossed the line into fraud, that bothered voter organizer Reverend Earle Fisher.
He says it bothers him, “Because we know that kind of claim has been used in the past to mislead people into believing things that are not happening, when it most instances, when you talk about voter fraud, it hasn’t happened much at all. I don’t think it’s a problem in Memphis and Shelby County.”
Phillips says the ballot issue is blown out of proportion.
“You want to know how many people have actually come to vote early whose forms have not been processed,” she asked? “Two.”
Phillips says many, if not all of these problems will be solved with new voting machines, and commissioners told her they have already promised to give the elections folks $10-million over two years to purchase them.
She wants to have at least a few in place for a “test drive” during a special Arlington election next summer.