Dear Ban the Box Supporter,
We write with a brief update and a call for your continued readiness and support for our campaign.
As you may have heard, on 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.
On June 12, in response to our records request, the Election Commission turned over copies of all petitions with the Commission’s invalidation markings to our team. Our review of invalidated signatures continues, but we can say thus far that there are indeed a high number of “purged” voters, many of whom likely do not know they have been purged from the rolls. The fact that the State of Tennessee has purged nearly 2,000 Davidson County residents who signed our petition, and the fact that we conducted the vast majority of our signature-gathering in lower to middle class black neighborhoods and black churches, speaks volumes about the degree of voter disenfranchisement in our state.
Despite the fact that our petition likely will not appear on the upcoming ballot (early voting is July 17 – August 1, and Election Day is August 6), our fight to Ban the Box in Nashville is far from over. Our team is currently in consultation with members of Metro Council, our lawyer, and other community members in order to reroute the enormous energy and support you have helped us gather across this city. Considering the fact that 9,500 locals signed the petition, that more than 50 congregations and community organizations worked hard to further our campaign, and that six out of seven of Nashville’s mayoral candidates publicly endorsed our campaign, it is beyond clear to us that the people of Nashville want to ban the box. That is why we are currently working up a new strategy to accomplish our aims by means other than the ballot box.
In the meantime, we urge you to continue to keep an eye on our website and Facebook page and email blasts in the days and weeks ahead. We have come this far only thanks to your grassroots support and labor, and we will only continue to push ahead with the same. There will soon be important opportunities to lend your voice to help us remove questions regarding criminal background from Metro Government job applications.
Please stay tuned!