I've been laughing at how Republicans have managed to screw up this election, with roughly 200 people being handed the wrong ballots while early voting. Since Tennessee became a GOP-supermajority state 20 years ago, Republicans' dream has been to split Nashville into three districts, which they finally did this year. They didn’t manage to work out any of the details in all that time? The AP is reporting that, no, no one bothered to make sure things ran smoothly:
The issue comes after Republican lawmakers split up multiple precincts throughout Davidson County while redrawing Nashville’s congressional maps in hopes of flipping a Democratic seat. As a result, voters now live in splintered precincts and some have been incorrectly grouped in the wrong district.
At first the state was just like, “Oh, well, what are you going to do?” But now there is a “real” “solution.” As reported by The Tennessean, “Voters who have already cast ballots during early voting and believe they voted in the wrong race can cast a provisional ballot by going to the Davidson County Election Commission at 1417 Murfreesboro Pike on Election Day.”
These are brand-new districts! How are people supposed to suspect that they voted in the wrong one? Hilarious. (Editor's note: On Saturday, the Davidson County Election Commission issued instructions on casting a provisional ballot, as well as a list of voters who were affected by "district misassignment.")
But the best part is that Republican Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton told the AP that “the issue will be a topic of discussion when the legislature returns in January, and could result in lawmakers taking away ‘some autonomy’ from Davidson election officials and installing more oversight over them.”
At first glance, this doesn’t seem any stupider than all the other times that the state legislature has decided that Davidson County needs a little less autonomy. But the Davidson County election officials are majority Republican. It’s Sexton’s team that has screwed up here, not Nashville.
Unless he’s suggesting that Nashville is so awesome that we can corrupt even fine, upstanding Republicans and cause them to screw things up? In which case, it might have been a mistake to try to make three Republican districts out of what had been one Democratic one. You can see the corruption already seeping into Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Green, who has recently decided that the redistricting was "unfair." Which Republican will succumb to our wily charms next?
I know the point is to make people in Nashville feel like voting doesn't matter, that we can’t even be sure that our vote will count. And I know that we’re supposed to get the message that Nashvillians don’t matter, that we can just be lumped in with more rural folks and the Republican representatives can just spend all their time courting their Republican bases. But if we are a corrupting influence, then they just increased the spaces we can spread into.
I hesitate to ask this, because I know it’s just going to result in Memphis laughing at me, but how long can “Vote for us and we’ll punish Nashville” work as a strategy for Republicans? Now that we’re redistricted into three Republican-leaning congressional districts, Republicans will (presumably, depending on how Election Day goes on Tuesday) be responsible for Nashville’s well-being. If the Republican state legislature keeps passing bills designed to hurt Nashville, Republican members of Congress are going to hear about it. And as Mark Green seems to have intuited already, this is going to be a massive headache for those Republican members of Congress, because the people causing the problems have Rs after their names, and the people charged with fixing those problems have Rs after their names, just as the people who couldn’t even run a proper election all have Rs after their names.
Someone is bound to fail here. Just obviously. And Republicans have set it up so that they are the only ones who can fail.
It’s a remarkably shortsighted and stupid position to put your party in.