Early Voting In Nashville Results In Over 200 Ballots Cast In Wrong Races

Early Voting In Nashville Results In Over 200 Ballots Cast In Wrong Races

Tennessee election officials said Wednesday that more than 200 voters cast ballots in three different races since early voting began in Nashville.

Jeff Roberts, the administrator of the Davidson County Election office, told The Associated Press that 190 voters cast ballots in the wrong congressional race, 16 cast votes in an incorrect state Senate race, and six cast votes in a wrong state House race.

The Associated Press notified Roberts’ office on Tuesday that voters were receiving information contradicting which race they could vote in.

“The fix has been put in place,” Roberts said, adding that officials sent corrections to the secretary of state’s office on Wednesday and that early voters would receive the proper ballots until election day.

Republican lawmakers recently divided Davidson County precincts during Nashville’s redistricting process, which caused some voters to have been placed in incorrect groups in the wrong districts.

Roberts argued that the problem affected multiple voters across all Davidson County.

In an interview with local media on Tuesday, Roberts said “nothing can be done” when asked how to correct the votes cast incorrectly.

“If you think about it, we voted 45,000+ people early voting. I don’t know which ballots they are,” he said. “They all go into that scanner, and there’s nothing that identifies who, where, or anything on that ballot.”

Roberts was also asked to share his thoughts about how it plays into the lack of trust with voters and the election system.

“I think if there was lack of trust, it would be mitigated to some degree when you see the staff at an election commission, immediately upon recognizing that there is an issue out there, that they are fixing it,” Roberts said. “This is not something they swept under the rug and hope it goes away, and they are not hiding what’s going on. They are sitting down and inviting the press to come over and tell you what we experienced and what we’ve done to fix it.”

The Tennessee Democratic Party blamed Republicans for causing the issue and said it removes voting power from communities of color.

“The Republican Secretary of State is actively participating in voter suppression,” the Tennessee Democratic Party tweeted Wednesday. “They know they’re giving people the incorrect ballots, and they don’t care.”

Odessa Kelly, the Democratic nominee in the 7th Congressional District, urged voters to “lean deep into the process” at a news conference.

“To every person that feels frustrated, disenfranchised, don’t disengage,” Kelly said. “If you can hear my voice, if you can see my face, this is your election.”

“This is your district,” she added. “This is your future.”

Kelly faces incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Green, who said the balloting issue in Davidson County left him “shocked and disappointed.”

“No one should ever have to worry about whether or not their vote was cast properly,” Green said in a statement to The Associated Press. “The Davidson County Election Commission needs to fix this immediately.”

Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton called the idea “ridiculous” to blame the error on a congressional map, emphasizing each district has an equal population.

“They’re complaining about something they could’ve sued about, but they didn’t sue because they couldn’t win,” Sexton told the AP. “So, it’s kind of hypocritical.”

State Democrats had said earlier this year that they would file a lawsuit over the map, but never followed through.

Marie Campbell, a Nashville resident, told The Associated Press her voter registration card displayed the 6th District, where she voted during the primary election and had planned on voting in the general election. However, after hearing about the error, she realized she should have voted in the 7th District, which is where she ultimately voted.

“I just would have approached the campaign a lot differently if I had known my neighborhood was in (Kelly’s) district,” Campbell said. “I would have canvassed a lot.”

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