First Lawsuit Contesting Election Results Filed, One More Expected

Aug 22, 2012

Countywide school board member Kenneth Whalum is contesting the results of the August 2 election. Whalum lost his District 4 school board seat in that election to Kevin Woods by a narrow margin, only 108 votes. But Whalum says the results would have been different if the Shelby County Election Commission hadn’t made mistakes. He filed a lawsuit against the commission today.

“He [Whalum] believes that there were enough election irregularities that were widespread enough that he should at least get another shot at the election, or he should be outright declared the winner,” said Senior Reporter for the Memphis Daily News Bill Dries.  

The election commission admits to handing more than 1,000 voters the wrong ballots. That means those people voted in districts they do not live in, and missed the opportunity to vote in their own district. The state is currently investigating the commission’s mistakes.

Still, the commission certified the results of the August 2 election at an acrimonious meeting Monday. The two Democratic election commissioners called for the resignation of Administrator of Elections Richard Holden at that meeting. Their motion was defeated by a 3-2 party line vote.

“The three Republican election commissioners,” Dries said, “believe that the body should at least wait until the investigation by the state comptroller’s office is completed.”

Millington is also expected to sue the election commission this week. A referendum to open a municipal school district passed in Millington. But a referendum to raise the sales tax to pay for that school district failed by three votes. Millington Mayor Linda Carter believes people living in an area outside of Millington were improperly allowed to vote on those referendums. The community in question is known as the “Lucy area” and was home to The Lucy Opry, a bluegrass show. The Lucy area was annexed by Millington before the election, but residents filed a lawsuit and the area was de-annexed during early voting.