An Update & Call for Continued Support

April 12 Canvassing 3

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!

Sincerely,

Democracy Nashville

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Election Commission makes ruling on petition drive, Democracy Nashville responds

Election Commission Meeting - 6-11-15

The Davidson County Election Commission met Thursday, June 11, where they announced the results of their petition verification process.

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.

https://democracynashville.wordpress.com

http://www.facebook.com/bantheboxnashville