Time To Fix It 

As we have consistently noted in our online coverage during the immediate run-up to Thursday's county election and statewide primary votes, glitches in the early-voting process got progressively worse.

As documented by such local investigators as Steve Ross (a District 1 county commission candidate himself) and pediatrician/activist Joe Weinberg and as corroborated by the offices of the Tennessee secretary of state and state election coordinator, several thousand erroneous ballots were provided to early voters in Shelby County.

It remains to be seen what the fallout from this will be, though the Shelby County Election Commission's procedures are now under formal state investigation.

Clearly, remedies must be found to prevent the repetition of such embarrassments, which not only make for potentially crucial errors in close races but undermine the very integrity of the electoral system.

Understandably, perhaps, there are those on the Democratic side of the ledger who are indulging in a form of schadenfreude, finding satisfaction in the seeming haplessness of local Republicans, now the administrators of elections in Shelby County, as well as elsewhere in Tennessee, as a result of becoming the state's majority party.

We can't share in such merriment, because the rude fact is that we're all in this together. We hope in all nonpartisan seriousness that the current regime at the Shelby County Election Commission can get things together. They're going to have to, else the ruling party will suffer in people's imagination, along with the democratic process itself.

In a somewhat related matter, Shelby County commissioner Brent Taylor, himself a Republican, offers some electoral-reform thoughts of another kind in this week's Viewpoint (p. 17).


Jimmy Lauck

Jimmy Lauck, whose death this week after a lengthy illness was mourned by the kind of mixed assembly of notables and just folks that one ordinarily associates with a state funeral, was no ordinary restaurateur, even as his establishment, the Little Tea Shop on Monroe Avenue downtown, was no ordinary restaurant.

Tended to with exquisite care by Lauck's wife, Suhair, whose careful supervision and hands-on attention to menu items never diminished her perfect good cheer, the Little Tea Shop has for several decades been a daily beacon at lunchtime for the likes of political godfather Lewis Donelson, Mayor A C Wharton, virtually the whole of the Shelby County judiciary, and numerous other personages. But walk-ins got the same gracious treatment and prompt service from Suhair and her waitstaff. Regulars of whatever sort could refresh their calendars by visiting the restaurant. Is it pea soup and meatloaf day? Then it must be Wednesday.

During the final days of Jimmy Lauck's life, the restaurant was closed to allow Suhair the same full attention to her husband as he and she gave to the creation and maintenance of the famous institution so loved by Memphians. Suhair has indicated that the Little Tea Shop will reopen soon, and when it does, it will be the finest monument imaginable to the kindly man who purchased it some 30 years ago and made it a continuing gift to his community.

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