Local election concerns: Some Washington County, Tenn. voters receive wrong ballot

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn (WJHL) — Several people have reached out to News Channel 11 on the second day of early voting claiming they received the wrong ballot.

Those issues happened at voting locations in Gray and Jonesborough.

The Washington County Election Commission said they were aware of the problem and are working to fix it.

Those early voters, though, said they don’t want this to happen to other voters.

“I went ahead and finished voting, and once I hit the red button, it was too late,” said Tommy Burleson who went to early vote.

Washington County Administrator of Elections Maybell Stewart said the Election Commission received calls about voters getting the wrong ballots.

“When I went in to make my vote, I told the gentleman that I would be in the Republican primary in District Seven, and when I went to place my vote, I was in the Democratic primary,” said Howard Alexander.

Howard Alexander noticed the issue right away and went to the machine operator asking them to make the change to the correct ballot, but Tommy Burleson said he has a different issue and continued with his vote even though it wasn’t his correct district.

Burleson was given the Sixth House District instead of the Seventh House District.

“I was going through the ballot when I got to the state representative race; I noticed that it was Mr. Van Huss and Mr. Hicks as opposed to Hill and Alexander, and I said well maybe I changed districts and didn’t realize it,” explained Burleson.

According to Election Administrator Maybell Stewart, two voters on Friday and one Saturday — all voting in split districts — were given the Sixth House District instead of the Seventh House District.

Since Burleson went through with his ballot, he was not given the chance to re-vote unless he files an appeal to the state and it’s approved.

“If the person you think you’re suppose to vote for is not on the ballot, don’t push the red button,” pleads Burleson to other voters.

Howard Alexander says he wants all candidates to get the votes they deserve.

“My wife is running, but also I think you have to understand I think most candidates can be not getting the votes that people are wanting to place for them,” explains Alexander. “If you do not see your candidate on your ballot, you need to tell the operator that there’s a problem.”

According to the Election Commission, this was a human error, and there is nothing wrong with the ballot or machines.

Washington County Administrator of Elections Maybell Stewart said the following in a statement over the phone.

“We want to make sure everyone gets to vote. We try very hard and train our workers. The split districts are very difficult because there’s more settings.”

Maybell Stewart
Washington County Administrator of Elections

Stewart said those machine operators will be receiving additional training.

The Election Commission has since put up information for voters to say something to the machine operators before they cast their vote if they feel there is an issue with their ballot.

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