Helping voters sort through the chaff


The Tennessee secretary of state recently announced, “Thanks to the laws passed by the Tennessee General Assembly and administered by the secretary of state and 95 county election commissions, Tennessee has the most secure elections in the country, according to The Heritage Foundation’s election integrity scorecard.” Secretary Hargett has stated that Tennessee is a state that makes it easy to vote, but hard to cheat.

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally reinforced the secretary’s position by stating, “The General Assembly is resolved to keeping it that way.” And finally, Speaker Cameron Sexton stated, “Election integrity is not a partisan issue, and Tennessee has set the national standard in protecting and preserving elections.”

However, it does not appear that the Anderson County voters believe this news.

The recent county primary and general election voting statistics showed that about 20-percent of the eligible county voters participated in the elections.

These numbers sent up a warning flag.

To help restore confidence in the security of Anderson County’s election process, motivate voters to get out and vote, and increase voter participation, a group of residents has organized to form the Anderson County Election Integrity Committee.

The purpose of the committee is to assure the voters of Anderson County that Tennessee elections laws are implemented, executed, and abided by as directed.

What does this mean to the average voter?

It means this committee is dedicated to educating our eligible voters about our election laws and procedures.

It means committee members will be talking to residents and recruiting volunteers to monitor the actions being taken by our appointed Board of Elections commissioners, our elections administrator, and even our poll workers, so they are fully accountable of carrying out their lawful duties.

Were you aware that the bipartisan elections commissioners are responsible for ensuring that our old voting machines are publicly tested before every election?

Also did you know they are responsible for ensuring that ineligible voters are removed from voter rolls through mandated list maintenance procedures?

Furthermore, our elections officials are responsible for maintaining voter records. We have the authority to submit an open records request and inspect these records.

In addition to observing our appointed officials, it is also important to monitor our bipartisan poll officials. Volunteer poll watchers can see our Tennessee election laws in action by observing the poll officials tabulate election results at polling locations and the counting boards count absentee ballots, and the election officials match the signature on the absentee vote-by-mail ballot envelope with the one on file in the elections office.

Through your active participation in the election process, you help validate the findings of The Heritage Foundation, help elect legislative representatives that will continue to protect the ballot box by enforcing and strengthening the laws pertaining to paper ballots, and help ensure that our election data is handled appropriately, retained correctly, and preserved well so that any discrepancy may be quickly and easily addressed or investigated. “Trust but verify.”

Ernie Gonzales