Software Releases Quick Recount of Franklin Municipal Election Votes

UPDATE: After a manual tally of the votes on Tuesday for the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen race, the Election Commission has confirmed its first results.

The Williamson County Election Commission will recount the votes by hand after software problems with the tabulator of the voting machines could incorrectly calculate the vote totals.

The votes cast on Tuesday in the Franklin Council of Mayors and Aldermen election will be counted. Votes cast during early voting do not appear to be affected.

What happened?

Details surrounding the software issue are unclear, but Election Administrator Chad Gray sent an email early Wednesday morning explaining that the vote totals “may be” incomplete. The commission received permission from the Tennessee Secretary of State to initiate the hand count.

The tally strips printed from each scanner at a few polling stations did not reflect the exact number of ballots cast on each machine, Gray told the Tennessean.

What kinds of machines and software does the county use?

Marni Johnson submits her vote in a machine with Jim Schindley's assistants at Legacy Middle School on Tuesday, October 26, 2021, to vote in the local election.

The county uses Dominion voting machines, which were purchased in 2019. Earlier this year, around 100 residents attended an election commission meeting where they expressed concern about the voting machines, following a ‘widespread and inaccurate claims that the company rigged the 2020 presidential election.

The software used is called Democracy Suite Software, supplied by Dominion. The company provides programming services for Williamson County, Gray said. The county is performing logic and precision testing on the equipment and going through multiple levels of approval for the setup and tabulation of ballots, he said.

Does this mean the results are wrong?

Most of the declared race winners had hundreds of votes ahead of their opponents and are unlikely to be affected by the hand count. But the declared winner of Ward 3, Jason Potts, edged Michelle Sutton by just 25 votes.

While Gray believes the total number of votes for each candidate is correct, that will be determined today, he said. It is possible that all votes were collected, but the software issue provided inaccurate count totals.

“We believe the ballots were placed in a ‘provisional category’ but were all counted based on the totals of specific candidates,” he said.

Who will count the votes?

The electoral commission will meet at 1 p.m. on Wednesday to count the 3,995 votes cast on Tuesday, as well as an eight-member counting committee.

Has this ever happened?

No, said Gray.

Contact Brinley Hineman at bhineman@tennessean.com and on Twitter @brinleyhineman. To stay up to date on Williamson County news, sign up for our newsletter.



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