Aug 3 2006
01:09 pm

WBIR is reporting a few problems with voting machines.

UPDATE: WVLT reports: "We had a few problems where workers weren't properly trained and we had technicians here and we went out there and got things going and right now things are running smoothly," says Greg Mackay, from the Knox County Election Commission.

Old Hickory's picture

We Should Demand Better

What is it with these clowns, they're paid good money, with plenty of perks and benefits and they only have two big events every two years and a presidential ballot every four years.

Problems start with McKay and the sooner you get his incompetency out of the way, the better off we will all be.

We've had more election issues than any other medium sized southern city outside of the state of alabama.

Stacey's picture

voting problems

Hickory you may be right. We'll see tonight. I was really impressed with the poll workers downtown, but have seen some really uneducated ones the last few years too. Speaking of Ala, according to Out and About mag, they just elected their first openly gay state rep. I beleive Ala is beating us on this one.... Stacey

Anonymous's picture

I wouldn't say that the poll

I wouldn't say that the poll workers in question were uneducated, but more geriatric. The Election Commission needs to hire younger, more tech-savvy poll workers, or at least try to find a way to attract more of them.

tennesseevaluesauthority's picture

Election Commission Is Not the Problem

I would beg to differ with Old Hickory and his general indictment of Greg McKay and the Knox County Election Commission. I have recently had to deal with the election commission dealing with a mistake regarding my voting registration (caused by an election commission in another county I lived in more than a decade ago) and have found the election commissioners to be easy to work with, talk to, and patient-- even as blew my own top. I have found McKay's staff at the courthouse to be professional and courteous to me and show a genuine interest in making sure my problem was fixed.

New voting machines (and old voting machines) are going to have problems. Given that this is a first run for local voters on the new machines, I would expect that a few problems will pop up. Some of them may have been unavoidable for the most part, many others likely can be corrected with a better working knowledge of the machines (which will come over the course of a couple of election cycles).

The election issues we've had this year that Old Hickory alludes to have little, if anything, to do with the election commission itself and more to do with the elected officials we installed as voters.

R. Neal's picture

I tend to agree. From what I

I tend to agree. From what I can see, Greg Mackay is a responsive and proactive election administrator. Don't know about the other members of the election commission, but Mackay seems to do a pretty good job and seems committed to getting out the vote and getting it accurately counted.

tennesseevaluesauthority's picture

Indeed there is a

Indeed there is a determination to make sure that those who are eligible to vote are able to do so. The staff member I was working with to resolve my problem even took the time to thank me for being a regular voter and wanted to assure me that he understood my concerns that I would have a voice in this election and that my vote would be counted. Long story short on that-- I voted today with not one bit of hassle or delay.

While the new voting machines (as WBIR's somewhat sensational headline suggests) may have had a few operating glitches, I haven't heard any actual news reports or witnessed any problems that could not have had happened similarily under the former machines. For that matter, those same problems (needing to reboot and other power glitches) happened in the previous elections, too. If we voted with pencil and paper someone would file a story about voting delays because the lead in someone's No. 2 Ticonderoga broke just as they were about to make their choice. News directors know that no one tunes into the news to see if all the planes landed safely, all drivers made it home unscathed, and all the voting machines worked smoother than human capability. It pays to point out the aberrations because the news is about aberrations not normalcy.

That being said, the WBIR piece did gloss over what I thought was a pretty nifty representation of McKay's sense of civic duty to voters-- the efforts by election workers to hand deliver a paper ballot to a voter who said he couldn't wait for the computer machines to reboot. THAT is responsive government and a mighty fine customer service ethic too rarely seen in civic leadership.

Bbeanster's picture

Greg Mackay is the best

Greg Mackay is the best election coordinator I've seen since I've been covering the election commission -- FAR AND AWAY the best. I wasn't even particularly "for" him when he got appointed, but he works hard and he works smart and he's fair. This office was notoriously incompetent and politics-ridden before he got the job, and he has turned the place around.

Two very able and honest election commissioners, Democrats Anne Woodle and David Eldridge, lost their jobs for supporting him because he was the best candidate (the job had been theretofore considered the provinance of black females), and I really respect them for it.

I hate the way this office is set up -- the commission is appointed by state legislators, and jobs there have been always been patronage plums -- but Mackay does better with these constraints than anybody else in the last 20 years. He's also a bit of a technology wonk, which is not a bad thing for this job.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Voting machines

I understand that just one machine was up and running at the South Community center on Maryville Pike when it opened. I got there to vote around 10:30 and by then they were all working but they may have been serving the tag end of the line as all 7 machines were occupied. Pretty unusual for a sleepy polling place that rarely has a line.

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