Memphis, TN – Nothing will get an elected official angrier than when you talk about voting and voting machines.
Exhibit A the Shelby County Diebold Voting Machines or as Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland calls them the dee-bold machines.
He wishes they machines would just go away. just head for that big election in the sky just up and dee.
“I don’t have any confidence in that dee-bold machine,” Roland told other commissioners, “And I think the public don’t have any confidence. And I think because of the machines that might be why we have a lack of participation in Shelby County in elections. I think that’s one thing we can change.”
This whole thing just popped up in a meeting where Elections Administrator Linda Phillips wanted commissioners to give the elections commission $175-thousand dollars to buy something else.
“We need the devices that create the voter access card to be used with our current voting machines,”she says.
Terry Roland has no love for the current Diebold or dee-bold machines.
Call them what you want he calls them trash.
He still claims some people who were voting for him in the April primary had their votes go to somebody else.
“I’d rather see us spend money buying new voting machines than I would patching these things up. I don’t have any confidence in them at all.”
The Diebold election machine has been the criticized for a variety of reasons. The late Shelby County Commissioner John Willingham, who lost an election for Memphis City Mayor, claimed somebody had hacked into the machines. His rationale was if all the people who said they voted for him actually did vote for him, he would have won.
Commissioner Mark Billingsley says he’s heard the same song for years.
“I have been on this commission for five years,” he said, “and this has come up before.”
Phillips says the whole issue is really in the hands of commissioners.
The Elections Board is asking for between $9 and $11-million dollars to purchase new voting machines.
“They are getting old,” Phillips says, “getting near the end of their life.”
The machines were purchased in 2005.
If there are new machines, they can’t come too soon for Terry Roland.
“I don’t have any confidence in that dee-bold (Diebold) machine and I think the public don’t have any confidence. And I think because of the machines, that might be why we have a lack of participation in Shelby County elections. I think that’s one thing we can change.”
Phillips says if the Elections Commission gets the money, new voting machines could be used as early as the 2020 Presidential election.