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VOL. 37 | NO. 17 | Friday, April 26, 2013

Review of Nashville voting says 2 races marred

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NASHVILLE (AP) - A state review of election problems in Davidson County has concluded the outcomes of two 2012 primary elections could have been influenced by voting technology bungling.

After the problems came to light, the State Election Commission asked state election coordinator Mark Goins to conduct an investigation.

A draft report obtained by The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/11pHakL) stated the elections were "marred by a series of avoidable errors and violations of law" throughout 2012. The report said the missteps undermined the credibility of the voting process in Nashville.

Albert Tieche, the county election administrator, and Ronald Buchanan, the new chairman of the election commission declined comment Thursday.

The review found electronic poll books, used in 60 precincts, defaulted to the Republican ballot and could have swung two state House contests. The Republican primary in Dis trict 50 was decided by 104 votes, and the Democratic contest in District 58 was decided by 58 votes.

A recent Metro audit of the election commission was more favorable, giving good marks to election procedures and management.

However, former election commission member Eddie Bryan, a Democrat replaced this month by legislators, said Tieche is difficult to work with and dismissed employees who could have aided him.

"He ought to go," Bryan said.

Among the finding noted in Goins' review were typographical errors, incorrect information or marks on sample ballots, legal notices and a flier about photo IDs that could have misled or prejudiced voters. The report noted polls were "grossly understaffed" in November when the commission didn't appoint enough voting machine operators in 53 of the 160 precincts. Tieche also failed to make early voting available on a Saturday during the presidential primary. The review also found a friend of the employee who compile d the commission payroll paid a poll worker who didn't work.

In an addendum to the report released Thursday, the state said the Davidson County Election Commission also submitted at least seven different voter totals from the Nov. 6 general election, ranging from 245,382 to 246,517.