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Election Commission Corrects Voter Rolls After 1,000 Got The Wrong Ballot

Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Robert Meyers said he offered to help employees update their voter rolls after the most recent redistricting. They told him he couldn’t.

“It’s very technical,” Meyers said. “It’s not like you could train me for an hour.”

Meyers estimates five employees are qualified to do the important and sensitive job of altering the listing for voters who switched districts.

This most recent redistricting presented those employees with a particularly fearsome and tedious task. That’s because this redistricting got down to the census block level—the smallest geographic area used by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“In the process of making those changes the election commission made some mistakes,” Meyers said.

About 1,000 people received the wrong ballot during the first week of early voting. That means those people voted in a district they did not live in, and they didn’t get to vote in their own district. Those votes are final.

“Once a vote is cast, it is, by law, impossible to retract or change by anyone,” Meyers said.

The election commission was first alerted to the problem on Tuesday of last week when blogger David Holt arrived at the polls and found he was listed in state House District 98. He is, in fact, a resident of state House District 93. That district was impacted by redistricting this year, but Holt’s house was not among those that switched.

Democratic nominee for the Shelby County Commission District One seat Steve Ross also alerted the commission to potential errors.

Commission staff have gone back through their voter rolls and believe all errors have been corrected. Early voting ends Saturday. Election Day is August 2.

I love living in Memphis, but I'm not from the city. I grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I spent many hours at a highly tender age listening to NPR as my parents crisscrossed that city in their car, running errands. I don't amuse myself by musing about the purity of destiny, but I have seriously wondered how different my life would be if my parents preferred classic rock instead of Car Talk.