‘Help Desk’ Working to Make Election Day Run Smoothly

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(Memphis) With 220 precincts around Shelby County, some problems are bound to creep-up. 

That's why the Election Commission has a "help desk".

Three election officials are taking calls from any precinct having technical problems with voting machines or electronic poll books. 

They then call in one of 12 technicians already in the field ready to address the problem.

And there is always "user error" when about 200 thousand people vote in a 12-hour period.

Seventeen election workers in the operation center are taking phone calls from precinct workers in a bind.

The most common call is about voters who've recently moved but still showed up to their old precinct.

It's something precinct workers are trained to handle but still can cause confusion.

"At the precinct level they should know that but there are all kinds of special cases where people`s names are misspelled," said Richard Holden, the administrator of elections for Shelby County.

 And that's where these little gadgets come in.

 "This is the electronic poll book," said Holden.

Election officials can find the correct spelling of a voter's name, find out if the person is registered, if they've already voted or where they should be to vote.

"This is the room where election officials call in and there`s a similar room downtown where voters call in with their issues and questions," said Holden.

 If you are a voter in Shelby County with a question, you can call  901-222-1200.

"So far things have gone smoothly," said Election Commission Chairman Robert Meyers.

Meyers says that doesn't mean there won't be any kinks in the process but that workers are helping to make the best of this big day.

"We are very excited. In some ways, it`s like throwing a big  party," said Meyers.