Poll worker fired after incorrect photo ID protocol leads to missed vote

Monday, March 26, 2012 at 12:47am

Davidson County’s elections administrator fired a Super Tuesday poll worker after the worker misdirected a voter who lacked a photo ID on the proper way to cast a provisional ballot, preventing the person from voting.

“It’s very disappointing,” said Al Wilkinson, a consistent voter for nearly three decades, who hoped to weigh in on a competitive Republican presidential primary and a field of GOP delegates. “I take the right to vote seriously.”

Wilkinson, a 45-year-old landscape architect, said he showed up on Election Day, March 6, at his assigned polling location, the Northside Church of Christ on Old Hickory Boulevard. He had forgotten his wallet, however, which contained his driver’s license.

“I was in a hurry,” Wilkinson said.

According to Wilkinson, the poll worker advised him to go to the Davidson County Election Commission office on Second Avenue the next day where he could show his ID and cast a ballot there.

But that wasn’t the correct protocol.

Under Tennessee’s new photo ID voting law, voters lacking a proper ID are to first vote provisional paper ballots. They then have two business days after the election to go to the election office to present a valid photo ID.

Failing to cast a provisional ballot, Wilkinson was unable to vote.

Albert Tieche, the county’s elections administrator, said he dismissed the poll worker the day after the election. “That officer doesn’t need to work again,” he said.

In a second voter ID incident, Tieche said a poll worker mistakenly had an elderly voter who lacked a photo ID vote on a machine instead of cast provisional paper ballot.

“He should have voted a paper provisional ballot, which would have been counted by the provisional ballot counting board,” Tieche said.

The Davidson County Election Commission certified March 6 election results on Wednesday.

Tieche pointed out that out of approximately 53,000 Davidson County voters who participated in the March 6 election –– voting in either the Democratic and Republican primaries –– only two mishaps occurred.

“As long as we have human beings working in elections, we’re going to have some human error,” Tieche said.

“We got it right 99.9961 percent,” he said.

Tennessee uses two types of provisional ballots: Green provisional ballots, denoting them as fail-safe, and orange provisional ballots, which are cast because of a lack of photo ID.

Out of 17 orange provisional ballots in Metro, four voters showed up at the election commission to show their IDs, according to Tieche.

The March 6 election marked Tennessee’s first with its new voter ID law, which requires every voter to show licensed photo identification to vote. Election officials have categorically said there were few hiccups in implementing the new requirements.

As for Wilkinson, unable to vote because of a misinterpretation of the law, he said he supports the state measure nonetheless.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Wilkinson said. “I just made a mistake, but their workers need to know the process better."

9 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 3/26/12 at 8:26

This Voter ID law needs to be repealed. Any eligible voter should be able to vote with any type of ID without all of this intimidation. What is wrong in using your Registsration Card?

By: BASPUD on 3/26/12 at 8:30

i think that firing the person was a little to much it was the man being stupid for leaving his id at home

By: Radix on 3/26/12 at 9:32

Better one missed vote than dozens of dead people voting for liberals. Hopefully they will get the kinks worked out. One person, one vote. Zero fraud.

If you don't don't like voter ID, you're only defending voter fraud. (pswindle)

By: Rocket99 on 3/26/12 at 10:04

Radix, think you got that wrong.

The people most likely to commit voter fraud are the ones who passed the voter ID law.

There is another state where they have a voter ID law and dead people still voted. So, this law doesn't really stop that. All it takes is a good fake ID produced by the extreme right wing like you to be able to vote under a different name.

By: Rocket99 on 3/26/12 at 10:36

There is another state where the Republicans pushed through a voter ID law. After it passed, one of the Republicans responsible for it was prosicuted for voter fraud. Interesting how the ones who passed the laws are the ones who have been caught breaking said laws.

By: BASPUD on 3/26/12 at 1:12

i do not find anything with the voter id law it let,s you know who,s got the right to vote and those who don,t

By: pswindle on 3/26/12 at 1:46

Everyone will not have the limited kind of ID that the GOP wants. If they would take gas bills, or anything that proves who they are that would be fine, but not just the IDs that they will accept. The GOP does not want everyone to vote. That is the bottom line. TN has not had any fraud, just uneducated poll workers that are scared of the Legislative Body. The GOP does not want everyone to vote if they look like they will vote democratic.

By: govskeptic on 3/27/12 at 6:29

This is a good law and it's proven to work well, The only problem's left
is we have those like pswindle that are still allowed to vote!

By: lwilliams on 3/27/12 at 9:43

There have been only 3 mentioned cases of voter fraud in TN prior to this new law. Now there are 2 high-profile cases where people have been denied their vote because of problems with this unnecessary law. How long will people be satisfied to spend state money on this start-up program with such necessary manpower, training & marketing needed during a time of cutbacks and consolidations? Dead people voting is an elections administration problem and work was definitely needed to clear any chance of that occurring.That is happening, without added cost to Tennesseans. This program is too costly to continue.