HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn (WDEF) – Representative Yusuf Hakeem is calling on the Secretary of State to launch an investigation into the Hamilton County Election Commissions.
Rep. Hakeem is accusing the Election Commission of engaging in practices leading to voter suppression and other concerns.
“My concerns are in regards to hiring; both permanent and part time persons and concerns of operations in the office. Is there adequate funding for the office of elections to carry out its duties and functions without putting great difficulty on citizens ability to vote and their votes be cast and counted,” says Representative Hakeem.
Representative Hakeem wants the investigation to happen before the November election.
Hakeem says the concerns he has received from Hamilton County citizens have all been within the last 10 days and are only concerning this year’s election commission.
Secretary of State Tre Hargatt provided a statement saying “I think it is important to reiterate my confidence in all members of the Hamilton County Election Commission and their ability to oversee the upcoming elections. As most citizens know, each county makes every possible attempt to attract election officials from both parties, and based on information we received from the Hamilton County Election Commission it appears those numbers are very close.”
Hargett provided numbers showing the elections commission has employed 37 republican officers , 33 democratic officers with 2 non partisan officers.
Making the ratio: 50% Republican, 44% democratic, and 6% nonpartisan.
Representative Hakeem says this data isn’t enough.
“To give us numbers on paper is one thing but what is the verification process of these numbers? That’s what I am getting at. I feel that at this point in time there needs to be some independent monitors or persons who have accountability on their mind to share that information with us,” says Rep. Hakeem.
Earlier this week, The Hamilton County Elections Commission Administrator Kerry Steelman decided to take a leave of absence.
Hakeem says none of his allegations have any direct connection to Steelman and that his concerns are about this year’s commission.