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Norma Lester: That’s not what I said

I have never been one to resent being quoted, but I do have a serious issue with being “misquoted” ...
 Norma Lester

I have never been one to resent being quoted, but I do have a serious issue with being “misquoted” as inappropriately stated by former Election Commissioner Shep Wilbun in the July 28 edition of the Tri-State Defender.

I respect Mr. Wilbun’s right to his opinion but that is what it is, his opinion, and as such my perspective remains exactly as stated! In the 2 1/2 months of my tenure I do not have enough knowledge of the system to address the likelihood or lack of improper activities transpiring. I remain confident that because there is equal party representation, if employees are not intimidated and procedures followed in accordance to protocol things should work in accordance to the intent of the law. That does not guarantee that they will or machine malfunctions won’t occur, or that democratic employees will speak up. Surely if that was the case, the 2 1/2 years Mr. Wilbun was on board would have netted a flawless system.

It appears Mr. Wilbun has a problem with the machines and that is something we can agree on. As such it would seem more appropriate to have restricted his comments to that area in that there was no correlation between my comments and the machines.

Below, I have extracted my comments from the Tri-State followed by those interpreted by Mr. Wilbun. Although not a concern for me, false statements of that nature could cause untoward consequences for some. I trust the Memphis readers to form their own conclusions and that Mr. Wilbun will engage in more meaningful activities such as spearheading a movement for ballot paper trail.
New Election Commission on a mission - Part II
Tri-State Defender, July 21-27

Norma Lester: I’ve been learning a lot about this election process and can offer that the systems that are in place ensure that both parties have equal representation in every aspect of the process from the security to the selection of poll workers; and I’ll say we do need poll workers! But even the technicians that are full-time staffers are equally balanced by political party. So from my perspective proper systems have been put in place to make sure that things work according to the intent of the law.

Election certainty needs a put-it-on-paper foundation
Tri-State Defender, July 28-Aug. 3

Shep Wilbun: Further in the article, Secretary Norma Lester states that in essence since everything is politically balanced that it is very unlikely that any improper action would take place. As a former Election Commissioner (2 ½ years) and a plaintiff in both the 2006 and 2010 election contest challenges, I feel compelled to challenge these perspectives.
Norma Lester, Secretary
Shelby County Election Commission

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