Davidson County early voting schedule may violate law - WSMV Channel 4

Davidson County early voting schedule may violate law

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A day off from early voting may mean a county office broke the law.

Due to a misunderstanding of a code, the Davidson County Election Commission took a Saturday off from early voting.

"We try not to make mistakes," said Albert Tieche of the Davidson County Election Commission. "You never want to make mistakes. You always want to do things perfectly, but sometimes you make mistakes. When you do make mistakes, you own up to it, learn from it, move on."

In Davidson County, nearly 12,000 people chose to vote early last month. According to the State Coordinator of Elections, Davidson County should have also been open Saturday, Feb. 18, and they were the only county in the state not open.

According to Tieche, the office closed on a Saturday because Feb. 18 fell on a holiday weekend. He believed closing early voting that day was just following the law to the letter.

"We looked back in our records, and we have always closed on the Saturdays of holiday weekends, and that goes back to the year 2000," said Tieche.

According to Tennessee Code Annotated, "The County Election Commission office shall be open a minimum of three consecutive hours each weekday including Saturdays... during the period provided to vote early."

Tieche pointed out that there were 10 other days available for early voting.

"I think there was ample opportunity," said Tieche. "I think anyone who wanted to vote early got to do so, and we're open on election day as well."

Similar situations happened two years ago when the election commissions in both Rutherford and Hawkins counties failed to stay open for the three required Saturdays before the August 2010 election. In that situation, the election administrator in Rutherford County was placed on administrative leave, while the Hawkins County administrator was terminated.

According to an official with the State Coordinator of Elections, there's no way to go back and fix what happened with the Davidson County Election Commission, so for now, they're focusing on making the March 6 election day go smoothly. After Super Tuesday, the state coordinator of elections will decide how to address the situation.

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