Election Commission Says It’s Ready For Voters

(Memphis)  It’s been a difficult time for the Shelby County Election Commission following voting problems in the August elections, which led to lawsuits.

Robert Meyers is the chairman of the election commission.

“We were in some really difficult times. There was a lot of pressure on the commission, the administrators, managers, employees, but nobody quit. There’s some friction that happens in that process, but people were committed to doing the job and getting it done,” Meyers said.         

The state comptroller’s office released a report blaming both the election commission board and the election administrator, Richard Holden, for the problems..

“When we don’t do it perfect, you see it. When we do it right, you see it also. So, we welcome the state as we do anyone else that wants to observe the process,” Holden said.

So, why so many problems and why can’t the commission seem to get it right?

Otis Sanford is a political commentator for WREG-TV News Channel 3.

“Yes, there were some serious problems. They were slow to respond to some much-needed changes because of redistricting and boundaries,” Sanford said.           

The election commission is governed by five appointed members, but it’s run by county staffers.        

Over the years, election commission administrators have come and gone and party control depends on who’s in the majority in the legislature.
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“There needs to be a way to get the politics out of it, maybe have an independent group that selects election commission members going forward, But to get rid of it, I think that’s far too drastic,” Sanford said.

The election commission chairman says they’ve worked with the state, the University of Memphis and outside vendors to make changes, but he’d like to see more.

“I think we need to take a hard look at ourselves. look at ourselves from the top to the bottom, examine our structure, examine our equipment and examine the way we’re doing business. I think we’ll find all of these areas can be improved,” Meyers said.    

For now, Meyers said voters should have confidence in the election process.

“I think we’ve come a long way to taking the first step to correcting what our problems are,” Meyers said.

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