Press release from Tennessee Citizen Action; Sept. 5, 2012:
Nashville, Tenn. (September 5, 2012) — A week after Tennessee Citizen Action exposed anomalies in August primary and problems with the Electronic Poll Books used during the primary, the Davidson County Election Commission voted to reject the use of the machines in the November election and the Metro Council voted to remove the requested $400,000 funding for the machines.
“While we are pleased with the results of the Election Commission meeting and the decision of the Metro Council, questions remain,” said Mary Mancini, executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action, “and the people of Davidson County deserve answers.”
The Electronic Poll Books (EPBs) used in the August 2 primary election in Davidson County, TN, defaulted to the Republican ballot if a poll worker did not choose a specific ballot for the voter. Many questions regarding the use and performance of the machines, as well as the decisions made by the Election Commission, remain unanswered:
- Why did it take almost a month and pressure from the media for the Administrator of Elections to admit that there were problems with the Electronic Poll Books?
- What does their process to address and report voter complaints and issues look like? Is it thorough and transparent?
- According to Jon Cooper, Metro Council attorney and staff, the election commission had no authority to buy the EPBs without the council appropriating the money. Who made the decision to circumvent the council and the process and purchase the machines?
- If the Davidson County Election Commission did not direct Elections Systems & Software (ES&S), the manufacturer of the electronic poll books, to program the machines to default to the Republican ballot, then who did? Why?
- With all the problems ES&S has experienced in the past with their voting technology, whose decision was it to give them the contract for the Electronic Poll Books? Why?
- The administrator of the Davidson County Election Commission continues to say that using the Electronic Poll Books is an advantage and yet anomalies in split precincts have yet to be addresses – i.e. why were two people living in the same house given different ballots?
- Will the EPB’s default to one precinct or another if used in a split precinct?
- What does the poll worker recruittment and training process look like in Davidson County? Is it rigorous enough?
“Along with the Metro Council, we will continue to push for a complete audit of the Davidson County Election Commission,” said Mary Mancini, executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action, “No piece of any equipment that’s part of any election should ever default to one party or another. EVER. The fact that this happened, as well as the processes in place that allowed it to happen, need to be investigated further.”