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Election snafu costs us all in voter confidence

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There probably isn’t anyone beating himself up out there worse than Roane County Administrator of Elections Charles Holiway last week.

You could see it in his face Friday as the commission and witnesses dealt with the problem of an uncounted early-vote card from a Harriman precinct voting machine.

But voting is serious business in a democracy, and so we feel we must add our voice to those criticizing the mistake.

Voter confidence in the election process is crucial. Far too many already feel apathy, either as a result of the people who are running or because they do not believe in the process.

We feel assured others in Roane County will use this mistake — one that could have been prevented with appropriate checks and balances — as an excuse to steer clear of the polls.

And while we believe this was a matter of human error, the fact remains that the machine that held the card was unsealed, leaving some — like candidate J.D. Sampson who lost re-election to the Harriman City Council — to wonder.

We also wonder what might have happened if candidate Randy Ellis had not noticed what appeared to be extra low turnout in South Harriman compared to the previous, sparking the discovery of the uncounted card.

Sarah Stewart, whose “win” in the circuit clerk’s race was overturned when the mistake was discovered isn’t the only loser in this.

We all are.