Shelby County Election Commission questioned over election procedures

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 6:01 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2022 at 7:28 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Questions over procedures by the Shelby County Election Commission are on the rise.

Lawyers for two Democratic candidates showed up at the commission’s headquarters on election night Thursday night to question why paper tapes of the results were not being put up at every precinct like normal.

Our reporter at the Shelby County Election Commission last night was there when the lawyers for Mayor Lee Harris and Democratic candidate, winner of the Shelby County District Attorney’s race, Steve Mulroy, showed up at the election commission headquarters.

Those lawyers said they were observers sent by the Harris and Mulroy campaigns. They said they were going to be able to watch the tapes coming off the individual voting machines.

It’s common for election results to be posted at each precinct. Thursday night on Twitter the Mulroy campaign called not doing that, as was done last night, “a decision that endangers the democratic process.”

Shelby County Administrator of Elections Linda Phillips says old voting equipment prevented that from happening.

Here’s her full explanation as to why these individual tapes were not posted.

“On Monday when we looked at the early voting numbers by precinct we determined that we did not have enough election day equipment at some precincts so we deployed more equipment,” said Phillips. “The problem you have with that when you have election equipment in two groups you can’t produce a combined tape for all of them. So we posted the individual tapes rather than one accumulator so you had to look at like ten tapes to get a total where you can come here and get a total.”

All the results were posted at the Shelby County Election Commission Headquarters.

There were also some questions about how quickly or lack thereof results were released Thursday night.

“Normally we just use our election night recording software which worked perfectly on Tuesday when we tested it,” said Phillips. “Today it was just not combining correctly so we brought you paper instead of waiting while they figure it out.”

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