Secretary of State Tre Hargett is the person in charge of elections in Tennessee. His job is to:
1) Guarantee that our election process is secure
2) Give us working systems that accurately record each vote
3) Ensure that the right candidate wins
In other words, Mr. Hargett is entrusted with the most fundamental tool of our democracy.
So, why does he want a machine to pick your candidate for you?
Earlier this month during a special election in Williamson County, Karen Carter attempted to vote for one candidate and the ES&S iVotronic touch screen electronic voting machine flipped the vote to his opponent.
Karen didn’t vote. The machine voted for Karen.
Tennessee uses the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen electronic voting machine in 17 counties.
So is this incident of a machine instead of a voter choosing an elected representative isolated to Williamson County?
During the 2008 presidential election, a voter in Davidson County touched the screen for one candidate only to have the box next to another candidate light up. (Ironically, it was the wife of Uncounted filmmaker, David Earnhardt).
So are both of these incidences of a machine instead of a voter choosing elected representatives isolated to Tennessee?
In 2008 there were also incidences of machines choosing our elected representatives on the same iVotronic touch screen electronic machines recorded in Jackson, Putnam, Berkeley, Ohio, Monongalia and Greenbrier counties in West Virginia.
And in Saline County, Kansas, the rise of the iVotronic touch screen electronic voting machines also occurred in three precincts. The local paper described the problem:
“When a voter pressed a certain candidate’s bar on the voting machine’s screen, the candidate above the selected candidate instead received the checkmark.”
In October 2008, the Brennan Center warned the Secretaries of State in 16 states of this problem.
Tennessee was one of those states.
Even though the ES&S machines have well-documented problems and there is a Tennessee law in place that, if implemented, would disenfranchised machines and enfranchise, you know, the citizens of the state, Mr. Hargett refuses to give Tennesseans back their precious right to vote by throwing these machines on the trash heap where they belong.