Gabrielle Hanson, the Tennessee mayoral candidate who’s found herself embroiled in weekly controversy on the home stretch of her campaign, appeared to keep making blunders on Election Day—decrying that voting machines were malfunctioning on Tuesday despite an election official insisting otherwise.
Hanson, who in the past month has been exposed as a Pride hypocrite and embracer of neo-Nazis, claimed on social media Tuesday morning that votes weren’t tabulating at some precincts in Franklin.
Initially, she told voters to take a photo of their ballots before submitting them—something that is illegal in Tennessee. If caught, offenders could be hit with a Class C misdemeanor and have their ballot nixed. (Justin Timberlake found that out the hard way in 2016 after he posted a ballot selfie in Memphis but officials later closed their case without filing charges.)
“It seems that there are issues with the voting machines at some locations today,” she wrote to Facebook and Instagram. “The intended process is for the ballot to print both the names of your choices and a barcode. However, in certain places, it’s only printing a barcode.”
However, Williamson County Election Administrator Chad Gray said Hanson had it all wrong—possibly because she skipped out on a tutorial she was invited to that explained how Franklin’s new voting machines work, he told News Channel 5.
In a statement shared by the City of Franklin, Gray added “there is some misinformation being put out about our election process.”
“All voting locations are operating as usual,” he said. “All equipment is working correctly.”
Gray insinuated that Hanson’s claims may have stemmed from her unfamiliarity with the county’s tabulation process. He said barcodes and printed ballots were largely irrelevant to Tuesday’s election because the positions being voted on—mayor and four aldermans—are all at-large positions that aren’t precinct-specific, which the barcodes are used to filter ballots for.
Roughly an hour after Hanson urged voters break the law by taking photos of their ballots, she quietly edited that part of her social media post—replacing it with an incoherent sentence about alerting poll workers instead.
“Please take note of your ballot, and if you encounter this situation, (sic) and tell a poll worker,” the updated sentence read.
Hanson, who limited commenting and messaging on her social media accounts on Tuesday, could not be reached for comment by The Daily Beast.
It’s been a tumultuous campaign for Hanson, who has regularly brought national attention to herself and Franklin—a Nashville suburb of 85,000 that’s home to scores of country music stars and their families.
Hanson, a Franklin alderman, first grabbed headlines this spring when she tried to shut down a Pride festival because she claimed drag queens and scantily clad revelers were a threat to “innocent children.” A photo emerged in September, however, that showed her husband rocking nothing but sandals and an American flag Speedo at a Pride parade in Chicago in 2008—an outfit he told reporters Hanson had approved of.
In May, she bizarrely claimed that Audrey Hale, the shooter who gunned down six before being killed by cops at The Covenant School in Nashville, was in a love triangle with staffers there—something cops called absurd.
A string of new controversies emerged in the final month of her campaign. On Sept. 27, her supporters barricaded a door to keep a local news crew out of a campaign forum. At Hanson’s next forum, residents and reporters arrived to see the building flanked by white supremacists who are part of the Tennessee Active Club, which is recognized as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Members of the group escorted Hanson into the forum.
Hanson never disavowed the group’s presence but insisted she didn’t invite them personally—despite Active Club members saying otherwise. She appeared to solidify her association with the group on Wednesday, however, when she was photographed grinning next to the hate group’s leader, Sean Kauffmann, who has described himself as being an “actual literal Nazi.”
Hanson’s association with the group has led some reporters to be harassed by Kauffmann and his supporters. On the eve of Election Day, Telegram accounts associated with Kauffmann posted threats to the local News Channel 5 journalist Phil Williams.
“We are watching you Phil,” a message said, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. “You slander us, there will be repercussions.” The post ended with the lines, “Always Watching, Always Listening, Always Near.”
Voting in Franklin will remain open until 7 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday. Hanson is throwing an election night celebration party, but is reportedly charging $500 per person to attend, according to an Eventbrite page for the event.
Hanson’s opponent, the incumbent Ken Moore, is not charging a fee to attend his election night party.