The state comptroller examined the Shelby County Election Commission after thousands of Shelby County voters received the wrong ballot during the August 2 election. The resulting eight-page report points to mistakes the election commission made updating its voter rolls after a once-in-a-decade redistricting.

Investigators found that the election commission did not meet early deadlines, at one critical point stopped working for four weeks, and did not have adequate back-up plans.

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.

Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Robert Meyers said he offered to help employees update their voter rolls after the most recent redistricting. They told him he couldn’t.

“It’s very technical,” Meyers said. “It’s not like you could train me for an hour.”

Meyers estimates five employees are qualified to do the important and sensitive job of altering the listing for voters who switched districts.

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.

Some voters in Bartlett and Collierville showed up at the polls on Monday to vote in municipal schools referendums and received an unpleasant surprise: questions about forming a municipal school district did not appear on their electronic ballots.

The Shelby County Election Commission was able to straighten that problem out for angry voters.   

“But any time that you have a problem,” said Senior Reporter for the Memphis Daily News Bill Dries, “the question is always how many people had this problem, but maybe didn’t notice, or just walked away.”

Bard Cole / WKNO


This week on the Behind the Headlines Radio Roundtable: more problems surrounding the Millington corruption investigation, and Carol Chumney decides to run for District Attorney General.

This week's topic: the October 6th Memphis elections, including the re-election of Mayor A.C. Wharton for his first full term as Memphis Mayor, the Memphis City Council, and one run-off election for District 7's City Council seat between Lee Harris and Kimba Ford, neither of whom received 50% of the vote.