Nicole Young/ The Tennessean
Former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis said he and his wife Lynda were denied the right to vote Tuesday in his Fentress County hometown.
"We walked in and they told me I was not a registered voter. I had been taken off the list," said Davis, who served two terms representing the fourth congressional district of Tennessee, leaving office in 2011.
"These are people who I grew up with. I told them I live here. I went to school about 20 yards away."
Davis has been voting in Pall Mall, Tenn., since 1995, he said.
He has also voted in city elections, in Pickett County's Byrdstown, where he served as mayor from 1978-82, for about the last 15 years, he said.
"It's always been this way and today, for some reason, they change it," he said. "I had a sense inside of uneasiness when I was told that I was not allowed to vote. They didn't offer me a provisional ballot, or anything, just told me I wasn't registered."
Fentress County administrator of elections Joey Williams said his office had received a notice from the state saying the Davises were registered to vote in Pickett County.
"We take a 'deny no one' stance," said Williams. "We only enforce what we're given."
Blake Fontenay, spokesman for the Tennessee Department of State, which oversees the division of elections, said officials were planning to investigate what happened with the Davises.
"They were purged in Fentress and we need to find out why," he said, adding that someone had called Davis and told him he could cast a provisional ballot back at the precinct later that day.
Davis confirmed that the official called.
"He said I would have to re-register," Davis said. "And I told them I'm already registered, I'm not going to re-register. I'm a former member of Congress, state senator, House member, mayor and all my life, I've been involved in the community, coaching Little League, participating in Boy Scouts and serving on boards here, and I'm denied the right to vote. It just doesn't make sense."