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NASHVILLE - State House Minority Leader Gary Odom, D-Nashville, is calling on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to probe what he says are attempts by Benton County's Republican election administrator to question the voting status of 2,100 voters in the rural county.

"I know firsthand that some of these voters have been registered to vote in Tennessee for more than 48 years," wrote Rep. Odom, who is questioning whether Republicans also are trying to "purge" voters in other areas of the state. Rep. Odom said he has been told 70,000 Memphis voters and 50,000 Nashville voters have been purged.

"I believe these actions could constitute official misconduct and could result in an illegal disenfranchisement of Tennessee voters," Rep. Odom said in his letter, which urges TBI Director Mark Gwyn to look at the actions of Benton County Elections Administrator Mark Ward, State Election Coordinator Mark Goins, who is a former state House member, and Republican Secretary of State Tre Hargett, a former House GOP leaders.

Among those whose registrations has been questioned in Benton County is Christine Borchert, wife of state Rep. Butch Borchert, D-Camden. She has been registered to vote since 1962, according to her voter registration card. The registration of Rep. Borchert's son, Timothy Borchert, who has been registered since 1978, also has been questioned.

A Hargett spokesman had no immediate comment.

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