Email from Kathleen Starnes to Commissioner Buchanan of the Election Commission:
Dear Commissioner Buchanan:
I am writing as the immediate Past Chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party.
The Davidson County Republican Party (DCRP) worked with Republicans across the state to gain a majority in the State Senate and House. Because we are now a solid Red State, the Tennessee Republican Party has strengthen their by laws to include a higher standard for Republican county officials. In fact, to be an officer in the Davidson County Republican Party one has to have voted in the last three Republican primaries. I assume you and the other DCEC Commissioners can meet this standard? After all, you do represent the Republicans of Davidson County in our election process. Another factor of our State Senate and House success is that now we have a majority on the Davidson County Election Commission (DCEC).
I have been very involved with the DCEC and have attended most of their meetings over the past four years. As Republicans, we should be proud of the accomplishments of the Commission. Among those accomplishments are the following:
-Survived the Voter ID law to get the message out over the County;
-Survived two, not one, but two redistricting maps (Metro Council, State, and House);
-Incorporated new electronic poll books which work great in spite of Democratic objections and those of Mark Goins;
-Increased the Republican base to help with the elections:
-Continued the fight against Democrats who want to hold on to their last stronghold, Davidson County
-Increased the voter base who have confidence in the election process; and,
-Improved the DCEC election website, making it user friendly.
Over the years, I have worked the polls in Davidson County in every capacity. I suggest that it is important for those in leadership positions to have a background in the election process, to walk in the shoes of those closely involved in the election process. Surely, this is something you and your fellow Commissioners will be involved in doing during an election. I also recommend that you and fellow Commissioners would be better served to attend a Poll Official training session to get an overview of the process.
I sit on several Metro, State, and Federal Boards and Commissions, and I am very concerned that you took it upon yourself to ask for Albert Tieche's resignation. I suggest that your job, especially new in your position, should be to work WITH the Administrator of Elections (AOE), not attack him so early in your tenure on the Commission. There is concern among many Republicans that we avoid "Eating Our Own."
As you know, the DCEC recently went through an audit from Metro Nashville. The audit was favorable with some areas identified for improvement. (That's what audits do.) The audit was appropriately sent to Secretary of State, Tre Hargett. I suggest to you, Commissioner Buchanan, that as a Mediator, your job is to assess problems over time and work with the Commission and the AOE to solve issues that need addressing. Problem solving is always evolving and can take weeks, months or a year depending on the issue. The worst mistake is to make a knee jerk decision based on misinformation or not getting to know the personnel involved.
I understand that you may have been encouraged by others to expedite the dismissal of Albert Tieche. A meeting of the State Election Commission is set for May 13. I have requested that Secretary of State Tre Hargett arrange for a large meeting room in order to hear from those who wish to attend. It has come to my attention that you have called a meeting of the DCEC for May 9 at 2:00 p.m. to address personnel matters. Is this a coincidence?
I trust that you will be open about your intentions for AOE Albert Tieche and deal with this matter in an open and transparent manner.
Immediate Past Chairman
Davidson Co Republican Party