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Reeves continues to question election

By SERINA MARSHALL
Staff Writer [email protected]

Though the next election in Washington County isn’t until November, the results from the most recent vote in August are still up in the air for one former candidate.

In a close mayoral race, James Reeves was defeated by Joe Grandy on August 4 by 1.29% of the votes – but Reeves is still saying that the numbers are not accurate.

“I look at the sign that says ‘Tennessee is number one in the country for election integrity and they really don’t get into if the machines are tell- ing the truth or not,” Reeves said. “And the machines didn’t. It’s that simple. I can’t be gracious in defeat. I wasn’t defeated.”

Reeves, who also present- ed his side to a small crowd of supporters outside the Washington County Court- house prior to the Election Commission meeting, said he didn’t contest the election at the beginning because it was bigger than he was at that point.

“This is statewide,” he said. “The election commission gave me the opportunity to print out some maintenance receipts and I didn’t know I would find anything.

“They expected me not to find anything. But what I found was a machine at Heritage that had been turned on and off twice before the vote,” Reeves said. “I want to know why some voting machines were turned on twice before the election and others just once.”

In response to Reeves’ allegations, Administrator of Elections Dana Jones said that the election commission checks their machines several times to make sure that everything is accurate and to uphold the integrity of the election.

“There are a lot of double-checks in our system to make sure every legal vote count and it’s counted as you cast it,” explained Jones. “Voting machines keep a protective count similar to an odometer that reveals if votes are cast and then erased. That count showed the election results are accurate.

“I want him to have confidence in our voting system. That’s why we broke Heritage down for him and his attorney to show him the records are accurate and the records are spot on.”

However, Reeves said that is the first year the election commission has done that; as before the machines were only checked randomly.

“I pulled two more maintenance receipts of what I call ‘oddball’ voting ma- chines or anomalies. They were turned on and off twice and I had been voted for on those machines. Of course, I voted for myself, so the vote stolen could be mine. I’m 55 and I’m never voting on a machine again.”

Reeves also presented a stack of papers with poll calculations he said are what the results should have been based on the math he did, assuming all machines in the precinct vote the same way.

“Only the MicroVote (voting machine) knows the truth and we are getting ready to buy new machines. I wish and hope you ask MicroVote about what I’ve told you and how this can and did happen,” he said.

Jones, who was voted in as administrator of elections in 2021, said that once you are inside the area where the machines are housed at the Washington County Court- house, you are in a home- land security office, which is a secure room.

“To get to the room, you would have to come into my office. And you can’t even get to this area from the emergency stairs unless you have a passcode or card,” she said. “And then once you get to the door of the room, it’s a deadbolt door and there’s only two keys

to that door – I have one and the machine techs have another one.

“Then the voting machines themselves all have numbered seals on them and I’m not allowed to break the seal unless the voting commission gives me permission to do so.”

Tennessee Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins said Tennessee is a state where it is easy to vote but hard to cheat – thanks to laws passed by the General Assembly and administered by the election office and 95 county election commissions.

Tennessee is currently ranked number one in the nation for election integrity, according to Goins.

“Tennesseans can trust in our election system to produce reliable and ac- curate results. Washington County’s voting machines are certified at the federal and state level by biparti- san commissions. They are also chosen by a bipartisan Washington County Election Commission for use in Washington County,” Goins said. “In Tennessee, voting machines are not connected to the Internet and are tested by bipartisan machine technicians before every election.

“Under Tennessee law, there is a process to challenge the results of an election. A candidate can file a contest of election along with the alleged evidence with a court. During court procedures, the evidence will have to be proven.

“We are told by the local election commission the per- son making the complaints chose not to contest the election even though he knew the process for challenging the results. The deadline to contest the August election has passed, making the results of the August 4, election final.”

Reeves said he was coming before the election commission on faith.

“I was asked to find out and what I did find out was a little disturbing; and that’s why I’m here now,” Reeves said. “Because this is what I found out and it shook me to my core.”