Thursday, August 23, 2012

Debacle in the Shelby County August 2 Primary

There is something funny going on with George Flinn, Jr.'s petition that he filed with the Shelby County Election Commission so that he could be on the ballot for the August 2, 2012 primary.  Upon examination of Flinn's original petition, it looks like Mr. Holden ~Administrator of Elections~ did not check his signatures by noon on April 5, 2012 ~the deadline for petitions to be filed.~  It also looks like there was a date change on the form that Holden signed signifying that George Flinn, Jr. had 26 qualified signatures.  This indicates that Flinn did not meet the deadline for turning in his petition.  George Flinn, Jr. should not have been on the ballot for the August 2, 2012 Primary; therefore he should not be certified by the Shelby County Election Commission to be on the ballot as the Republican nominee on November 6, 2012.

This has been brought to the attention of the Shelby County Republican Party and they are ignoring it as well.  If they think that Cohen will not use this against Flinn ~if he remains on the ballot for November~ as an October Surprise; they are more than naive.  

 As Ms. Bergmann stated yesterday at the news conference "We do not live in a Banana Republic."  We are a nation of laws.  The cavalier way that the Shelby County Election Commission, the TN Secretary of State, the Republican Party of Shelby County and the media have treated this whole election process is unacceptable.  Who has the courage to stand up and cry "Foul!  Not on my watch!"  Do we really want to see change in Memphis and Shelby County?  Or is it just something we say because it sound good?

I am absolutely incensed.  Elections matter and the incompetence and probable fraud in the Shelby County Election Commission is unacceptable.  I’m tired of the “good old boy network” in Shelby County.  No wonder there’s animosity between the two major communities in Memphis.  There’s incompetency at all levels and those in “power” don’t care or listen to the complaints of the “other” side.  There is NO communication going on.  A prime example is how the August 2 Primary was handled and how errors brought to the attention of the Commission ~both State and County~ are being handled and swept under the rug.  

My curiosity was piqued when I was discussing the Primary election with a friend and I wanted to know about a specific date concerning one of the candidates for TN-9 Congressional district.  I went to ~the Shelby County Election Commission’s website~ to look at the petitions filed by each of the candidates.  When looking at the different candidates petitions, I noticed that some were time/date stamped and some were not.  Knowing that the petitions had a specific time and date deadline for filing their nominating petitions with registered voters’ signatures; I decided to investigate further.  I went down to the office on 980 Nixon on August 13, 2012 and asked to see the original petitions filed by the candidates.  What I saw was glaring incompetence at the least ~good old boys network~ and possible vote fraud.  I received copies of the petitions and went home to study them further.  What I discovered is that Richard Holden did not check George Flinn, Jr.’s signatures.  Mr. Holden stated that there were 26 valid signatures, but it’s not clear whose signatures he was counting or excluding.  By looking at ALL the petitions filed and checked by even Mr. Holden himself, it’s clear that “one of these things is not like the other.”

I followed the protocol for filing a complaint with the Secretary of State’s office in Nashville and waited.  I attended the Shelby County Election Commission’s committee meetings and general meeting on August 20.  What I observed was the absolute breakdown of communication and CYA.  The commissioners certified the election w/o even looking at the stacks of info that was presented to them.  Mr. Monger and Ms. Lester brought up the incompetence of Richard Holden and asked for his resignation.  The Republicans on the Commission voted that down with the caveat that they wanted to see what the state audit had to say about it.  While I agree about not rushing to judgment ~which it’s apparent happens~ I agree with Mr. Monger and Ms. Lester about Holden.  He was the election official that I cited specifically in my complaint about the candidates’ filing petitions.  After the meeting I talked to both Mr. Meyers and Mr. Monger about what I had found.  Both said that they would look into the matter.  I emailed them both a copy of my complaint filed with the State that specifies the irregularities on the petitions and impressed upon them how important it was that they looked at the originals.  Mr. Meyers emailed me back and said that he referred the matter to the attorney.   Mr. Monger emailed me back and said that he would look into it himself.  I have not heard back from either them since. 

Meanwhile, one of the other voters that went down in person with me to see the petitions ~who also filed a complaint~ received a reply from the State informing him that she had looked into the complaint and called Sharon Logan at the Shelby County Election Commission office who verified that Dr. Flinn did indeed have 25 valid signatures.  Talk about the fox guarding the hen house.  Of course Ms. Logan is going to say that Dr. Flinn’s petition was correct.  This is why we originally filed the complaint with the state election office.  I want to know from Ms. Logan and Mr. Holden exactly which of those signatures were valid on April 5, 2012 at noon which is the deadline for filing.  

I've been interviewed by one local tv station.   I showed them my copies of the nominating petitions.  Both the reporter and the camera man acknowledged that they could see what I was talking about in reference to the petitions.  Charlotte Bergmann ~who lost the primary to George Flinn~ called a press conference to allow several of us citizens who filed complaints with the TN Secretary of State concerning the election to alert the local media.  We had one show up and she received a call from Bart Sullivan at the Commercial Appeal.  He's based in D.C.   He posted an article about it trying to make it look like sour grapes for Ms. Bergmann.  He called Mr. Holden from D.C. and asked him if the allegation was true.  Of course Mr. Holden denied it.

This is my response to Bartholomew Sullivan and the rest of the media.  

"Mr. Sullivan, have you even looked at the original petition filed by George Flinn, Jr. ~or any of the other candidates that were on the ballot~?  Or are you just going to take the word of an incompetent administrator?  Why is it that voters have to do the job of the Shelby County Election Commission, the Secretary of State of TN and the media?  This is a job of CYA by Richard Holden.  What do you expect him to say? “I didn’t do my job?  I am incompetent?  I signed an election document because my friend George Flinn, Jr said everything was OK.”   I witnessed the fiasco of the Shelby County Election Commission committee meetings and general Meeting on Monday.  Talk about a joke.  At least the Democrats on the Commission were willing to call Holden out on his incompetence.  

The facts are these:  Mr. Holden signed the form verifying that George Flinn Jr.’s petition had 26 qualified voters.  Mr. Holden never checked the petition.  I challenge ANYONE to go down to Election Commission offices at 980 Nixon and look at the original petitions of all the candidates for TN-9 Congressional District. .  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that “one of these things is not like the other.” There was also a date change on the form that Mr. Holden signed among many other irregularities.

Mr. Sullivan; instead of pontificating from Washington D.C. on something that you haven’t even seen; why don’t you get yourself down to the Shelby County Election Commission and pull the original petitions yourself and do a little investigating.  Why don’t you ask Mr. Holden which of the signatures on George Flinn, Jr.’s petition are the 26 qualified registered voters as of April 5, 2012?"

These are some of the irregularities that I found when examining the ORIGINAL petitions filed by the TN-9 Congressional Candidates.  

1.       Although Holden indicated on the Nominating Petition Signature Verification Form that George Flinn Jr.’s nominating petition contained twenty-six eligible signatures and addresses, when the check marks are counted, they total up to only nineteen (19), well under the required twenty-five (25). The rest of the marks being minuses or indistinguishable. If this is the case, then George Flinn, Jr. should not have been placed on the Aug 2 ballot for the Republican primary. 

2.       I inspected the marks placed on the original nominating petitions by the officers of the Shelby County Election Commission while in the process of validating the names, registration, and district of each voter.  On all the other petitions, except for George Flinn Jr.’s, it is very apparent which voters were considered valid and which voters were invalid by the election officer.  This is not true of the marks placed on Geroge Flinn Jr.’s nominating petition. On his petition, which is validated and signed by Robert Holden, it is difficult to distinguish by the marks on the petition, which of the signatures Holden accepts as valid and eligible and which he does not.

3.       It is further noted that on all the other candidate’s petitions, including one that is also validated by Robert Holden, the verification marks and comments are made in the margin in red ink and the total number of valid signatures for each page are noted and circled at the bottom of each page. This makes it quite simple to add the circled numbers on each page of the petition and arrive at the total number of valid signatures.   There is no total of valid signatures notated at the bottom of any page of the petition submitted by George Flinn Jr.

4.       It is stated in the Shelby County Election Qualifying Procedures that the signature of the candidate does not count toward the required twenty-five (25) signatures Candidate George Flinn, Jr signed his own petition and that is not noted in the margin by Holden; however, on the petition submitted by Saulsberry ~which was also checked by Holden~ the candidate signed his as well and the notation “candidate” was noted in the margin.

5.       On the Nomination Petition Signature Verification page for George Flinn, Jr the Date Verified appears to have been changed from 4-5-12 to 4-4-12 by Richard Holden.

6.       Date on the form that the candidate signs stating that none of their relatives are serving as election officials appears to have been changed on George Flinn, Jr’s form from the 5th day of April to the 4th Day of April.

7.       Date on Sec 2-9-108, TN Code Annotated page was changed from 4-5-12 to 4-4-12 but the change was initialed by Hart. 

8.       Time/Date stamped on the petitions submitted by Rollin Wilson Stooksberry ‘s final signatures and on Tomeka Hart’s signatures were too late for the certified copy (which were given to the candidate when the petition was submitted) to have been filed at the State Election Commission in Nashville by noon on the 5th of  April deadline as required in TN State Law. 


  1. That is not all the drama that took place at the election commission meeting Monday afternoon. In the committee meetings held right before the General meeting, the head of IT, Mr. Bryce, project manager in charge of "splitting" the voters into the right districts in the data records, refused to answer a direct question from the Commissioners about what he did or didn't do to expedite the process. He claimed the questions were "ridiculous". Bryce also admitted that he did not communicate with several of the members of his project to see how they were managing their part of the project. All of this is in the meeting minutes.

    It just so happens that Bryce was the the same person who admitted to "human error" in 2012 when several hundred voters were turned away at the polls because the wrong database had been uploaded to the computers on the morning of the General Election.

    In the August 2 primary this year 2300 people received the wrong ballot. It seems that the odds of hitting the jackpot on the slots at Tunica are better that getting the correct ballot from the voting machines in Shelby County.

    Our voting rights are too important to the citizens of Shelby County to allow this incompetance to continue at the Shelby County Election Commission
    Name Withheld Upon Request.

  2. I went to the Election Commission site and was only able to pull up what appears to be the cover sheet. Can you provide pdf's of the forms you are referring. It's difficult to follow without the forms.

  3. @Dickerson888; please go down to the Shelby County Election office at 980 Nixon and look at ALL the candidates' original petitions. While one can see that the annotations in checking the petitions are different on Flinn's petition in black and white, it jumps out at you in person because of the color of the ink used on the other candidates' petitions.