Friday, August 20, 2010

State Election Coordinator Goins Collects August 5th Evidence, as Does TBI

Posted By on Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 7:22 PM

State Election Coordinator Mark Goins
  • State Election Coordinator Mark Goins
The dominoes are falling — so far, quietly — in the aftermath of an August 5th countywide election that is still being disputed. But the possibility of a dramatic crash of sorts still exists.

The Shelby County Election Commission has conducted its own investigation of a glitch that resulted in wrong early-voting data being fed into the Electronic Poll Book (EPB) for the election. That investigation, the results of which were announced Wednesday, pinned responsibility on "human error" on the part of the Commission’s IT director, Dennis Boyce, but concluded that none of the races on the ballot were miscalled because of it.

Then, on Thursday, the Commission, in a brief, uneventful meeting, formally certified the results of the election, which had resulted in a Republican sweep of contested countywide races.

On Friday, state Election Coordinator Mark Goins and an aide came to the Commission’s Operations Center to conducts yet another inquiry, which included interviews of IT personnel and examination of facilities and equipment. Commission chairman Bill Giannini said there was no indication as to when Goins when announce the results of that investigation, but Giannini said they could come as soon as the middle of next week.

Goins had responded to a call for a state investigation made last week by State Representative G.A. Hardaway of Memphis.

Finally, representatives of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, virtually unnoticed, have been conducting a systematic investigation at the Operations Center and other relevant sites, and the TBI’s report could also come relatively soon, Giannini said. The TBI had been invited in by District Attorney Bill Gibbons, who had been asked to investigate by the Election Commission.

And the chief litigants in a pending lawsuit in Chancery Court — Trustee Regina Morrison Newman and Minerva Johnican, the defeated Democratic candidate for Criminal Court Clerk — are preparing to file an amended version of the suit seeking the overturn of the election. The filing will occur on or before Tuesday, five days after certification, thereby meeting the statutory deadline for the filing of such a challenge.

Van Turner, chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party and attorney for the litigants, said that others of the defeated candidates in the August 5th election might join the suit. “We’re waging two contests — one in the courtroom and another in the court of public opinion,” he said.

Investigators who have been looking into the circumstances of the election at the behest of the litigants will resume their activity at the Operations Center site on Monday, Turner said.

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