Shelby County election commissioner announces retirement

Shelby County election commissioner announces retirement
Published: Dec. 7, 2015 at 5:31 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 8, 2015 at 1:54 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Shelby County Election Commission Administrator Richard Holden announced his retirement Monday.

"I am going to retire as administrator of elections December 31," Holden said. "I think it was a good opportunity for the Election Commission to move forward with the 2016 Presidential elections."

Commissioners confirmed Holden will retire at the end of the year.

Holden's term saw multiple problems during several different elections.

In 2012, more than 3,200 voters received the wrong ballot, forcing officials to overturn the school board election. Holden was suspended for three days.

In December 2013, a Memphis City Council committee passed a 'no confidence' vote against Holden.

In October, the Memphis Municipal Election faced technical difficulties and procedural errors that delayed results for hours.

Holden said the rumors were untrue regarding his retirement being the result of outgoing City Councilwoman Wanda Halbert suing over differences between electronic and paper results in the October 8 Memphis Municipal Election. Her lawsuit points out she lost the Memphis City Court Clerk seat by less than one percent. She said her legal team has two tally tapes showing 848 fewer voters than the electronic count.

"We have found clear violations of state law and we're going to present those in court and hope a judge gives us a fair hearing," Halbert said.

Just minutes after Holden announced his retirement, calls for a criminal investigation against the Shelby County Election Commission came from state leaders. State leaders said they want Holden fired and for the feds to get involved.

Tennessee State Representative G.A. Hardaway called for the investigation into Holden's activities as administrator.

"The vendor said its not their machines. Ifs not their software. Its the humans actually running the process who are the problem," Holden said.

Election Commission Chairman Robert Myers said commissioners were disappointed when they learned of the problems late in the process.

"It does involve her election, yes, but it doesn't have an impact on her election," Myers said.

Holden denied any knowledge of the calls for an investigation.

"I have no idea of which you're speaking," Holden said.

Hardaway is drafting letters to the district attorney, the Department of Justice, and the Tennessee Comptroller, as Halbert's lawsuit calls for a legal count of the vote. The election commission will hold a special called meeting December 15 to discuss Holden's replacement.

To view the full lawsuit from Halbert, click here.

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