Former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis showed up at his Fentress County polling place on Super Tuesday to cast a vote but was turned away because his name was no longer on the voter roll. Today, Davis filed a class-action lawsuit against state officials, accusing them of violating federal voting laws, including the 14th Amendment.
According to the lawsuit, Davis was “unlawfully purged” from the Fentress County voter roll without explanation or notification.
He was told by several election officials, including state coordinator of elections Mark Goins, that he could register to vote at the polling place, then cast a provisional ballot. However, Davis said he understood that to be a violation of Tennessee voter law, which requires residents to register 30 days before voting.
Davis and his attorney, George Barrett, estimated 70,000 purged voters in the state might have been in the same situation.
Barrett said, “All we're asking the court to do is certify a class, expedite discovery [for any corrections that have to be made] ... and ask the court to review the [purging] process used, allowing us discovery to determine whether or not the process is being carried out.”
Davis was advised after the polls closed that he was actually registered to vote in Pickett County, where he also owns property. He said he believes the state has mistakenly purged voters and failed to notify them.
“I just want the issue to be resolved and fixed, and I believe this is the best way to do so,” said Davis, who isn't asking for monetary damages or relief.
He also maintains that the lawsuit isn't politically motivated.
“This is not about proving somebody right or wrong, it's about [giving] people who are entitled to vote, the right to vote,” Davis said.
Davis, a Democrat, told reporters he was voting in the Democratic presidential primary and in a local Fentress County charter government proposal.