State Comptroller's Report Faults Both Administrator, SCEC Board

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The Shelby County Election Commission has released the findings of the long-awaited state Comptroller’s report on glitches in the August 2012 election process in Shelby County. According to a summary of the findings by Rene Brison, assistant director of the division of Investigation in the Comptroller’s office, “Our review identified no discernible evidence of intentional misconduct or other actions intended to affect or influence the election process or election outcomes in Shelby County. It appears that poor judgment and mistakes were the most likely causes of the ballot errors and SCEC staff did not identify or correct the errors in a timely manner.”

Independent investigations by Steve Ross and Joe Weinberg, later corroborated by state officials, indicated that upwards of 3000 Shelby County voters in August were given wrong ballots. The Comptroller’s report faults Shelby County Election Commission administrator Richard Holden for delays in ballot preparation arising from a decision to wait on the Shelby County Commission’s long-stalled efforts at redistricting. The report cited Holden for failure to prepare a timely backup plan and found that the Commission board had failed to provide proper oversight.

The Commission board has since imposed a three-day suspension and a six-month period of probation on Holden.

“We are pleased that the independent audit by the State of Tennessee found no issues beyond those already acknowledged and identified by the Election Commission,” said Commission chairman Robert D. Meyers. “We appreciate the work undertaken by the Controllers’ Office. With no additional issues raised in the audit beyond the commission’s self-evaluation, that means the steps already underway by the commission staff to improve processes, safeguards and ballot accuracy are addressing the same issues and concerns as the state.”

The complete Comptroller's Report can be accessed here.

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