Poll-watching coalition wants audit of election - WSMV Channel 4

Poll-watching coalition wants audit of election

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Voter watchdogs are calling last week's general election in Nashville a failure.

They said a whole host of problems, from a shortage of poll workers to a shortage of necessary forms, led to long lines and even some voters being turned away.

Tennessee Citizen Action said Monday it was swamped with more than 600 calls on its voter hotline on Election Day.

They want the entire election commission audited, but the head of elections in Nashville called the reports of problems "exaggerated."

"I witnessed people leaving in tears," said poll watcher Larry Sneed.

Sneed joined other poll watchers as voter watchdog groups demanded answers Monday from the Davidson County Election Commission.

They claimed 38 precincts ran out of either provisional ballots or forms for changes of address. Also, they said a lack of poll workers in place to deal with the problems helped to inflate the lines.

"The Davidson County Election Commission has utterly failed in their mission," said Mary Mancini, with Tennessee Citizen Action.

At one point, Sneed said, he was recruited to help run the election machines.

"At several points in time we became overwhelmed, and I was recruited to operate a machine which I've never done before. Not sure I'm supposed to do that, but I did," he said.

Election Commissioner Albert Tieche said election leaders are currently looking into the issues with change of address forms, but he said they only ran out of provisional ballot envelopes and not the ballots themselves.

As with other elections, the commission will review this month's election to see where it can make future improvements.

However, poll watchers want the review to go a step further and are calling for a full audit.

"What we're asking for is for those auditors now to take a complete look at the Davidson County Election Commission and see where their process of putting on elections has broken down," Mancini said.

More than 600 provisional ballots were cast in Davidson County for this election.

Provisional ballot numbers weren't immediately available for the 2008 election, which also had a very high turnout.

Those ballots are scheduled for review on Tuesday.

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