Three people who live near Bell Road in southeast Davidson County were directed to vote in the Metro Council District 32 election when they actually live in bordering District 31.
In a letter sent earlier this week, Davidson County Elections Administrator Albert Tieche said the three voters live in the Cedar Pointe Apartments complex. He said the mistake resulted from a “computer data-formatting problem” during Metro’s expedited restricting process that concluded in the spring.
Competing in the District 31 race are candidates Fabian Bedne and James Widrig. The three affected voters were instead forced to vote in the District 32 election between Markeith Braden and Jacobia Dowell.
“There is no way for the election commission to determine for whom these three votes were cast,” Tieche said in the letter. “We regret the error.”
Contacted by The City Paper, Tieche said there is no way to retract the three votes, though he said the glitch is fixed.
“We’ve notified the candidates, and we’ve corrected the error,” he said. “There’s no way to back those votes out. There’s no provision for changing their votes.
“At this point, the big question is: Will these three votes make a difference in either of the two races?” Tieche said. “If either of the two races are within three-vote margins, then we’ve got a problem.”
Widrig said the District 31 and District 32 boundary line literally cuts through the middle of Cedar Pointe Apartments. He said he has major concerns about the election commission’s mistake.
“There’s a lot of questions at this point,” Widrig said. “I’m concerned that people are voting for people that obviously won’t be their elected official. Whichever candidate is elected is not going to be the candidate they had the option to vote for.
“I’m also concerned it may be happening in other districts throughout the county,” he added.
Bedne said he is taking a wait-and-see approach.
“Obviously, we don’t want anybody to be disenfranchised,” Bedne said. “That’s always a concern ... Depending how things turn out, maybe we’ll take action. I want to know who these people are and make sure that they don’t feel like they were disenfranchised.”
Early voting for Metro’s general election runs through Saturday. Election Day is Aug. 4.