Last week blogger David Holt went to the polls to early vote. The wrong ballot appeared on his voting machine. He complained. And his complaint alerted the Shelby County Election Commission to a wider problem—some voters are not listed in the correct district.
Now, Democratic candidate for the Shelby County Commission Steve Ross says about 4 percent of voters have pulled the wrong ballot.
Ross used the election commission’s public list of everyone who has voted so far. That list includes each voter’s address and the district they voted in. Then Ross plugged each of those addresses into a Google Earth map he got from the state. Ross checked to see if the district each person voted in matched the district they lived in. Ross says 1,019 times it didn’t. Ross blames a complicated recent redistricting that, he says, made the election commission’s job very difficult.
“There are,” Ross said, “five districts very, very tightly mashed together. That creates a lot of opportunity for failure, especially when you are trying to update the voter file very quickly.”
The election commission is aware of this problem. The commission took the online tool, which allows voters to look up their district, off their website last week, because they realized the information that tool was providing some voters was wrong.
Now the election commission has all of Ross’ findings.
“We’re going to look at Mr. Ross’ data and analyze it to determine whether or not his suggestions are correct or not,” said election commission Chairman Robert Meyers.