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Franklin voting machine pulled off-line after complaint in early voting (TN)
Early voting in city election will end Thursday

THE TENNESSEAN. October 20, 2009. By Kevin Walters
Original: http://www.tennessean.com/article/20091020/COUNTY090101/910200308/-1/RSS05

FRANKLIN State and local officials say they're satisfied with remedies to separate complaints made by two supporters of Franklin aldermanic candidates in the city's upcoming elections.

Neither complaint one about a voting machine and another about disclosing political advertising resulted in fines or punishment.

Early voting in the city's ward election will continue through Thursday. Election Day, when voters will choose the city's four ward aldermen, is Oct. 27.

Here's a breakdown of both situations:

County Election Administrator Ann Beard says she's going to keep one of the electronic touch-screen voting machines out of service after a voter lodged a complaint after trying to cast a ballot on it.

Ward 3 voter Karen Carter complained to Beard and state election officials when she tried to vote for Alderman Mike Skinner on one of the electronic machines and said the machine displayed another candidate's name.

She eventually voted for Skinner using another machine. However, she and Beard disagree about the source of the problem.

Beard said she believes Carter inadvertently voted for another candidate on that machine, but Carter maintains the iVotronic machine is in error.

"We have to keep the integrity of our election as the No. 1 job," said Carter. "It's important or people will lose their faith in the voting system."

The machine, which is one of six set up for use during the early voting period, will remain closed for the rest of the early election period though technicians have tested it and recertified it.

Mark Goins, state coordinator for elections, said technicians certified from the Republican and Democratic parties should have inspected the machine afterward, and not just the election staff.

Beard said she's making the documentation of tests on the machines available to Skinner's campaign.

Goins said there have been no other complaints about Williamson County's election machines thus far or in the past that he knew about.

Williamson County has a 146 touch-screen voting machines and will use 46 in the city election.

Ward 1 candidate Garry Neal will affix stickers on his campaign signs that designate who paid for the signs after a supporter for his competitor complained to Williamson County District Attorney Kim Helper and county election officials about the signs.

Lance Maliszewski, who is a supporter of incumbent Beverly Burger, notified Neal as well as the media and other officials that Neal violated state campaign laws by not disclosing on his signs that his campaign paid for them.

State laws mandate candidates must disclose who is paying for their campaign signs on the signs.

Maliszewski said he has not been contacted by Neal yet about the matter.

"Mr. Neal's silence to me speaks volumes about the way he would operate as an alderman," Maliszewski said.

Helper, who spoke to a Neal supporter about the issue, said she could not offer legal advice, but she said she believed a sticker with the correct information would address the problem.

Neal, who said he spoke with Helper's staff as well as election officials, said he was going to add the stickers and admitted he was to blame.

"It's a rookie mistake," said Neal, who has never run for alderman before. "Yes, I am at fault. It was my responsibility."

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