Election leaders say commissioners' vote may hurt them later

Watch: Election leaders say commissioners vote may hurt them later

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Election leaders said commissioners' vote may hurt them later.

“While they don’t feel there is any urgency, I do. I was counting on having some of that equipment,” said Linda Phillips, Shelby County Election Administrator.

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Monday, Shelby County Commissioners voted against nearly six million dollars for new voting equipment.

“I’m disappointed that the county commission chose to ignore the advice of people who run their election and have done constituents a great disservice,” said Phillips.

Phillips said the majority of the equipment won’t be used until the next election, but the commission needed the scanners to count absentee ballots in this election.

“Voters lose confidence if results are delayed by days or weeks,” said Phillips.

But Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner fired back. He said commissioners were willing to compromise by approving more than $300,000 to rent scanners.

“I don’t think they can lay at our feet the issue of not having enough scanners when we have done that in the past and are offering to do it again,” said Turner.

But Phillips said she has never rented scanners for security reasons.

“I want new equipment, never been touched with a factory seal and under my control. I would never rent,” said Phillips.

Commissioners had another concern: why the cost jumped from $3.9 million to $5.8 million and why this was presented Monday two days before early voting began.

“This decision won’t just affect this election, but future elections for the next 20/30 years. So we want to be deliberate,” said Turner.