MEMPHIS, Tenn.– The Shelby County Administrator of Elections confirms some early voters at the Berclair Church of Christ were given an incorrect ballot.
According to the Shelby County Election Commission, 50 ballots were cast at the polling location before the error was discovered on October 31.
“Elections are not perfect. We’re not perfect. So, there’s always going to be mistakes although this one was a pretty minor one,” Linda Phillips said.
Linda Phillips, the Administrator of Elections, said they have now figured out how 50 early voters received the wrong ballot at the Berclair Church of Christ voter precinct.
She says an investigation revealed this was a clerical error and had nothing to do with the new voting machines or the use of paper ballots.
“Yeah, the problem has been solved. Voters will get the correct ballot tomorrow and we are still analyzing the root cause, but voters can be confident they will get the right ballot tomorrow,” she said.
Melody Haspel has voted in Berclair for years. She said she was pleased the voting process was quick and easy and the lines were not long, but she would like to know if she received the wrong ballot.
“I think somebody needs to go through those ballots and find out who we or they are and get in touch with everybody that voted. I have no way of knowing if I voted the right way or the wrong way or if I got the right ballot or the wrong ballot,” she said.
Haspel said she would like to have the chance to vote for the candidates in her precinct if she did get a wrong ballot.
“There has got to be a way to keep up with our votes. I think we should be sent a handwritten registered letter or something. This is kind of a big deal,” she said.
However, Phillips said there’s no way to contact those individual voters.
“Once a voter has been separated from their ballot, the secret ballot does not allow us to determine which ballot belongs to which voter,” Phillips said.
In a press release, Phillips said the ballots would only affect the outcome of the election if there is less than a 50-vote margin between the top two vote-getters of the Congressional Races in District 8 or 9.
“To build community confidence and trust in the election process, we must be transparent about any issue with our elections,” she said. “In Shelby County, we aim to keep voters informed, even if the news is difficult to share.”
Voting locations in Shelby County open Tuesday at 7 a.m. Phillips said she will hold a press conference Tuesday morning to provide more information on how voters were given incorrect ballots.