Serious Violation Of State Election Law in Rutherford Co.
by Nick Beres
RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. - A serious violation of a state election law in Rutherford County raises questions about the results in some high profile races.
County election administrator Hooper Penuel said the polls for early voting were mistakenly closed on a single Saturday.
"It was just a slip up is what is was," said Penuel.
Under state law, "the election commission must be open each weekday including Saturdays."
During the three weeks of early voting in July Penuel admits the commission made a serious mistake. In the first of three Saturdays during early voting ,the polls were closed.
"It was an error. There was no intent to close to keep people from voting," said Penuel.
But there could be widespread repercussions. Some candidates are considering filing complaints or lawsuits. If that happens, a Chancery court judge could decide to order a new election. Such an order could effect results in the hotly contested 6th District U.S. Congressional race won by Diane Black or the sheriff's race won by challenger Robert Arnold.
The state election commission is monitoring the situation. Officials said it's highly unlikely the recent election will be voided because of only one day missed during early voting. However, they do consider it a serious violation and the Rutherford County Election Commission could face a reprimand.
The election results will be certified next Monday. Then candidates will have five days to file complaints.