Photo Credit: Glen Casada / Facebook
Representative Glen Casada of Williamson County introduced a bill on Wednesday that would create a formal process for filing a complaint against a member of the state or county election commission for intentional wrongdoing or neglect of responsibilities.
According to a concerned citizen journalist and reader of the Tennessee Conservative, Casada filed House Bill 2011 after the reader contacted him regarding a complaint that was submitted last year against a member of the Williamson County Election Commission.
The reader states that an open records request indicated that 17 different Williamson County residents had contacted the state election commission in regards to concerns they had about the commissioner. It appears that no follow up was made on any of these complaints, and the commissioner was reappointed to her position.
It was further found that there was no official procedure for citizens to file a complaint against the state election commission. If citizens felt that these commissioners were not fulfilling their responsibilities, there was nothing to hold those individuals accountable.
While there is a “Code of Conduct for County Election Commission Members,” the reader states that there is a history of the state election commission ignoring complaints that are filed.
Additionally, the state election commission is mandated by Tennessee law to “monitor the activities and performance of the county election commissioners” and also to “remove a commissioner who becomes unqualified and may remove or otherwise discipline a commissioner for cause.”
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However, critics are concerned about their ability to do so when there are hundreds of county election commissioners across the state and there is no formal procedure for voters to make their concerns known.
The bill states that it “establishes a formal process by which a person may file a complaint with the state election commission alleging malfeasance or neglect of duty by a member of the state election commission or a county election commission.”
Malfeasance is defined as “intentional conduct that is wrongful or unlawful.” The reader who contacted us states that the county election commissioner in question failed to fulfill the duties of her office by not showing impartiality, not refraining from publicly showing support for particular candidates, and not conducting her work in a professional manner.
After attempting to file a complaint with a number of different election officials, the reader filed a complaint with Judy Blackburn, Chairman of the state election commission. When that complaint went without consideration, the reader contacted Casada.
The bill would amend TCA Title 2, Chapter 11, and Title 2, Chapter 12.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com