In a recent interview on Fox 13 News at 10, former Shelby County Election Commission member O.C. Pleasant, though remarkably not admitting to any voting improprieties during his 30 year tenure, did admit the responsibility to maintain public trust in the process is unique as compared to the rest of Tennessee.
"There's a great deal of diversity here and so that maybe the perception among many that it's a difficult county to manage with regards to elections," he said.
But, given the myriad of problems faced in this pock-marked filled election season, the "difficulty factor" for the current edition of the County Election Commission, would probably be even beyond the reach of a Chinese diver in the Olympics. But, it's not excuses, it's answers, County Election Administrator, Richard Holden, has been asked to supply by Wednesday to the State Election Commission as part of a Comptroller's audit they ordered following complaints filed by voters victimized by mistaken ballots used during the tumultuous 15-day early voting period.
"It does add to the burden of the Election Commission to respond to these inquiries. Although at the same time I think they're perfectly necessary and it's just something we'll have to work into the work flow," said Holden.
But, former Shelby County Election Administrator, Greg Duckett, now a member of the State Election Commission, isn't dissuaded by the cries of inconvenient timing.
"What they are being asked to respond to are issues that they have known about all along," says Duckett. "We now are in the position, we being the State Election Commission, where it is incumbent upon us to help instill in the public that they can trust the system."
Duckett says there is a "worst case scenario" should the state Commission fail to be satisfied with the findings of the Comptroller's audit. The word "decertification" has a nasty ring to it...doesn't it?
"That would equate to a substantial reduction in pay for the administrator as well as we could reprimand the local administrator and or staff members involved," adds Duckett.