On Thursday, June 11, the Davidson County Election Commission announced that they were able to verify only 5,902 of the 9,500 signatures submitted endorsing a “Ban the Box” charter referendum—945 fewer than the required 6,847. This means that the Election Commission found approximately 3,600—or 38%—of the 9,500 signatures submitted to be invalid. According to a senior administrator with the Election Commission, the “majority” of the invalidated signatures were from registered voters who were purged from the voter rolls.
At Thursday’s Election Commission meeting, in response to both an emailed and verbal request, a senior administrator gave verbal confirmation to a member of Democracy Nashville’s Ban the Box team that the Election Commission would make copies of all of the petitions containing its marks next to all invalidated signatures by the end of the business day Friday, June 12, in order that the Ban the Box team might have the opportunity to conduct a review of the petitions. Democracy Nashville’s lawyer, Daniel Horwitz, also filed a formal records request Thursday afternoon to formalize the verbal request.
“Having turned in nearly 3,000 more signatures than necessary, we are extremely disappointed with the outcome of the Election Commission’s count,” Horwitz said. “We have asked the Election Commission to produce detailed records of its signature verification process in order to verify its legitimacy, and we are fully exploring all of the legal options available to us at this time.”
The referendum, if it were to be voted upon and passed, would remove questions concerning an applicant’s criminal history from the initial stage of Metro Government employment applications. Some exceptions apply. Early voting for the general election lasts July 17 – August 1, and Election Day is August 6.
The crucial work of Democracy Nashville and its enormous, grassroots network of supporters and volunteers is not over. The fight continues, and we will need your support in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned to our website and Facebook page for updates in the coming days.