Group says voting machines default to Republican ballot

Group says voting machines default to Republican ballot (Image 1)

A watchdog group wants Nashville election officials to stop using a new voting device because of irregularities that affected August primary ballots of several local officials including Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall.

During a news conference Monday, Tennessee Citizen Action says the voting device called Electronic Poll Books defaulted to Republican Party if voters did not specify party affiliation.

In a letter to Davidson County Administrator of Elections Albert Tieche, Sheriff Hall wrote that on the August 2 election, he was “never, not once asked… anything about which primary I wanted to vote.”

The sheriff said the machine indicated he had voted in the Republican primary, but he added, “this is something I have never done.”

In citing the letter where it called for a halt to using Electronic Poll Books, Tennessee Citizen Action said Davidson County Juvenile Court Clerk David Smith and State Senator Joe Haynes also had similar experiences with the new voting devices.

The group is calling for immediate investigation from state and local officials.

On Tuesday, Davidson County Administrator of Elections Tieche downplayed voting irregularities brought up Monday by Tennessee Citizen Action.

He said changes have been made to new trial electronic polling books so that it will not “default” to a Republican ballot during a primary election, but indicated that he was “pleased overall” with how the devices worked.

“They will save time and money,” he told Nashville's News 2.

He also referred to his August 23 letter to State Elections Coordinator Mark Goins where he addressed issues brought up by Tennessee Citizen Action.

Tieche wrote in part, “We have identified and recommend programming changes to EPB vendor, ES&S, to improve the function of the EPBs when there are both primary and general elections held concurrently.”

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