FBI Inquiry Into Shelby County Election Commission

(Memphis) The FBI isn’t talking about its probe into the Shelby County Election Commission and it has apparently advised at least one Commissioner to do the same.

“I can only say I have been contacted by the FBI but I am not at liberty to say or disclose anything about that conversation,” said Shelby County Election Commissioner Norma Lester.

She said the call from the FBI was a complete surprise.

Past problems like voters getting the wrong ballots and election outcomes contested in court have put the Election Commission on the hot seat.

“If it falls under your administration, you have to assume the responsibility and the accountability for whatever happens,” said Lester.

Twice Election Commissioners took a vote calling for the ouster of  Election Administrator Richard Holden. Twice if failed along party lines.

Friday, Holden told WREG he had not been contacted by the FBI and had no knowledge of what they could be looking into.

He said past problems have been corrected and recent elections were problem free.
The chairman of the Election Commission echoed the same.

The FBI inquiry comes on the heels of the County Commission issuing a no-confidence vote in Holden.

At the next City Council Meeting, Councilman Myron Lowery says he will present a similar resolution asking the Council to also pass a no-confidence vote.

“I don’t think the repercussions that Mr. Holden has faced have been commensurate with the amount of damage that has been done to the credibility to the Election Commission and to that office. I think there should have been stricter punishment in terms of dismissal. I will let that be decided by the Election Commissioners,” said Lowery.

Like the County Commission’s  no-confidence vote, one by the City Council would be purely symbolic.

Only the Election Commission can remove Holden as administrator.

Lowery said he hopes two votes of no-confidence by two different bodies will get the Election Commission to finally take action.

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