It has all the elements of a potential political blockbuster - a former Democrat congressman is denied his right to vote after Republicans get control of voter registration in the state and purge his name from the rolls.
That's what former Democrat Congressman Lincoln Davis of Tennessee wants you to think happened to him last week.
And he has filed a lawsuit now, hoping for "class-action" status:
"Davis, a Democrat who represented the 4th Congressional District from 2003 to 2011, says his voter registration was unlawfully purged by officials in Fentress County, where he says he has lived since 1995. His registration was one of many removed by local election officials this year under a state-directed review of registrations, Davis says. The suit seeks class action status on behalf of other Tennesseans whose registrations were also removed. Davis and his wife were turned away at the polls when they attempted to vote in last week’s primary elections. Election officials in Fentress County said they had received notification that Davis had re-registered in Pickett County. An official in Pickett County apologized last week, saying he should have instead told Fentress County officials that Davis had been classified there as a property-rights voter, a special category that lets voters take part in local elections only. Davis should have remained on the rolls in Fentress County, he said. The suit names Gov. Bill Haslam, Secretary of State Tre Hargett and state election coordinator Mark Goins as defendants. Davis says he should have been notified that his voter registration had been purged and that the state “failed to implement safeguards” to ensure that people whose names had been removed would be allowed to vote."
A former state senator, Davis was defeated in his bid for a third term in Congress in 2010, part of the huge numbers of Democrats defeated in the Tea Party-fueled Republican wave, knocking a huge hole in the once-promising prospects for Davis to one day run for a statewide office such as governor or U.S. senator.
Although Republican-led redistricting has since made the 4th congressional district a tad more Republican, there was some talk of Davis running again for the congressional seat - indeed, it was thought to be the only path back from obscurity for the former congressman.
Until last week, when he went to vote.
Mr. Davis lives in one county and owns property also in a second county. He is registered to vote in both counties - in the county where he doesn't live, he is permitted to vote in the local city election as a property owner there.
Unfortunately, his dual registration led to his name being mistakenly removed from the voter rolls in the county where he lives. However, as reported in the initial news accounts, Mr. Davis was offered a provisional ballot - his vote would have been counted, as the registration error was cleared up very quickly.
Mr. Davis was not denied his right to vote. He chose not to vote.
The system worked - it is Mr. Davis who failed. Now, being a Democrat politician, he wants to blame others for his failure.
His lawsuit? The defendants are all Republicans. It's nothing more than a partisan political stunt, designed to put Mr. Davis back into the public eye.
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